Book Tour & Excerpt: The Fourth Piece by @E_Ardell + #GIVEAWAY


The Fourth Piece


Series: Order's Last Play, Book 1
Author: E. Ardell
Published: July 8th, 2016
Pages: 338
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, First Contact


Source:  I received this book for free from YA Bound Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.


Blurb:

Admitting what you are will end everything you know. Embracing who you are will start a war...

Life is great when you’re good-looking and popular…so long as no one knows you’re a vulatto. Being half-alien gets you labeled “loser” quicker than being a full vader. So it’s a good thing Devon, Lyle, and Lawrence can easily pass for human—until the night of the party. Nothing kills a good time faster than three brothers sharing a psychic vision of a fourth brother who’s off-world and going to die unless they do something. But when your brother’s emergency happens off-planet, calling 9-1-1 really isn’t an option. 

In their attempt to save a brother they barely remember, Devon, Lyle and Lawrence expose themselves to mortal danger and inherit a destiny that killed the last four guys cursed with it. In 2022, there are humans and aliens, heroes and monsters, choices and prophecies—and four brothers with the power to choose what’s left when the gods decide they’re through playing games.

Book I in the Order's Last Play series


Excerpt:

Chapter Five

Lyle

OTHER PEOPLE’S DREAMS SMELL LIKE oranges.
I don’t know why. Maybe it’s some kind of psychic fail-safe.
When I smell citrus, I know I’m not in my own
head. Uncle Jonas said dream-walking is the telepathic
equivalent to sleepwalking. It doesn’t happen too often,
but when I go to sleep, sometimes my mind wanders and
I wake up in different heads as far as Canada. I don’t stay
there long; the figments are lost as soon as I roll over or
scratch my nose.

I stand in a white-washed tunnel. I press my face
against a blank wall, forehead rubbing against the warm,
smooth surface. A scorching wind blows in through the
wall, drying out my skin and making it feel stretched
across my face. The wall becomes transparent, and I’m
looking through a picture window into someone else’s
nightmare.

The sky is green, double red suns glare down at a
bloody battlefield. Men are firing guns with bullets that
explode, showering metallic glitter that melts the skin
off the poor saps beneath the clouds. Bombs shriek
through the sky, arcing back to strike the purple soil, creating
mushroom clouds of debris and body parts. Thick
blood spatters into the air. Men and women writhe on
the ground, screaming and clutching wounds that leak
blood, guts, urine, and bile.

My stomach shudders and I swallow spit that tastes
like tangerines. I touch the window with my palms and
gasp as the clear shield between the war zone and me
shatters into tiny fragments of rock candy. I stagger forward
onto the uneven terrain. My bare feet crunch across
the hot, rocky dirt, grit working its way between my toes.
The atmosphere is hazy with dust and smoke. The sharp
scent of boiling orange juice wafts under my nose on a
hot breeze.

I recognize this battlefield. It’s from the guy’s message.
A woman collapses, her head inches from my foot.
Her neck is twisted at an unnatural angle and her eyes
stare blankly at me.

I was here a few hours ago. A man roars as acid
glitter eats the skin off his face.

A hand closes on my shoulder from behind and I
yelp, whirling around and falling on my ass. I pass right
through the lady with the broken neck. She’s a ghost, a
shade. She vanishes, as do all the other bloody, convulsing
soldiers on the ground. The bombs stop exploding
and the acid glitter dissolves as I stare up at the person
I’d last seen face-down in a pool of glowing water.

Drowning Guy’s a pretty boy type with dirty blond
hair in an armpit-length braid over the shoulder of a tan
shirt with pockets at the biceps. His pants are tan too and
loaded with pockets at the knees, ankles, and hips. Hints
of silver, from the compartments of a thick utility belt,
gleam in the sunlight. Drowning Guy, DG, grins at me,
and extends a slim-fingered hand.

“Well, you’re a new development,” he says.

When I don’t take his hand, he grabs my arm and
yanks me to my feet with surprising strength. DG looks
about fourteen years old. He’s a head shorter than me,
and skinny, but he’s got the stance of a fighter: feet
shoulder width apart, arms loose at his sides but looking
ready to grab or block a hit. His posture reminds me of
Devon. Devon’s always ready to fight somebody with
fists or insults. The word missiles are usually aimed at
me, the distorted reflection he can’t stand.

“Can you talk?” DG asks. His voice has a chime-like
quality to it, and his phrases are accented with a
Scandinavian-sounding lilt.

I frown. “Say something else,” I demand. For some
reason, I don’t think he’s speaking English.

“I don’t usually have dreams about men in their underwear,”
DG says, and his grin widens as I glance down
at my Houston Rockets boxers.

He laughs, the cackle setting my teeth on edge. He
sounds like the friggin’ Joker on helium. “Maybe I’m
developing new preferences,” he says.

I narrow my eyes. When I concentrate on his
speech, I hear another language over a bad English dub.
But when I let go and focus on him instead of the sentence,
I understand him just fine.
“So, who’s coming to save me?” DG asks.

Huh? Save him? “Oh, I....”

His smile fades and his eyes narrow. “You are an
under-dressed emissary come to tell me extraction is underway, right?” He bounces on the balls of his feet. “Or I’m already extracted and I’m in a coma. You’re a psy-ops agent sent into my head to wake me up?”

Damn. This guy thinks I’m a professional here to
help him. His eyes go glassy for a second and I see fear
in them. Hell, I feel the fear in him, and that flips my
SNAFU switch. This guy’s in trouble somewhere and
he’s stuck with me.

“Uh, I’m not—I’m not any of those things, but
you—you sent me a message. Earlier, when I was awake,
I saw you drowning—felt you drowning.” My lungs constrict
and I crack my knuckles to give my hands something
to do.

I’ve been in plenty dreams, I’ve even talked to the
sleepers, but never like this. No one’s ever needed me to
do anything, and no one’s ever been dying. I guess it’d
be decent of me to contact someone for him or something,
but....

“I don’t even know where you are,” I say. In a place
with two suns, local nine-one-one probably isn’t an option.
“Can you tell me who I can call for you and how?”
This guy’s a Visitor, no, an alien on another planet. An
alien with a familiar face who can broadcast directly into
my head like only Devon and Lawrie can.

The prickling sense of déjà vu ripples through me,
and a tip-of-the-tongue sensation brings DG’s name so
close to the surface of my mind I almost say it. I know it.

“You’re not Remasian,” DG says, deadpan. “And
you’re not speaking Common Tongue at all.” He takes a
step toward to me, invading my personal space.
I want to jump back so I can breathe. I hate when
people crowd me. It’s harder to block out surface
thoughts. I keep twelve inches of space between me and
anyone who’s not family or a girl I’m messing around
with.

DG won’t let me back away from him. He stalks
forward with each step I take back. His eyes glint and his
jaw is set like my mom’s when she’s determined to win.
“I bet you don’t even know who I am, do you?” he asks.
“You.” He reaches out and snags my shoulders, holding
me in place.

This guy’s strong as Thor! I go rigid as DG leans
forward and runs his friggin’ nose over my chest, neck
and shoulders like he’s part canine.

“You smell like something I used to know.” His
nose twitches like a rabbit’s as he studies me. When his
grip eases up, I break out of it, shoving him away from
me.

“What the hell, man!” Okay dream, you need to end
before this guy sniffs my crotch too. Screw helping him.

“Where are you from?” DG’s still looking me up
and down.

“What does it matter? Look, dreams don’t last
forever. If you want me to try to do something, before
you—I don’t know—die....”

In a blur of motion, DG whips a small silver dagger
with a jeweled hilt from one of his bicep pockets and
begins cleaning his short nails with it. His expression is
dangerous. “I asked you a question,” he says.

I hold both of my hands up, fingers splayed. My
heart beats fast. I need to take control. This is DG’s
dream, but I can alter it if I need to. I’ve changed my
clothes and made black horses appear in dreams before. I
visualize steel. I want a wall between DG and me. I close
my eyes, seeing steel beams stacking themselves. I push
the beams outward, sending them from my mind into
the dream space, and wait for the tugging nausea that
comes with the mental strain of tampering with someone’s
head. But I feel fine.

I open my eyes and balk. There’s no wall. Why is
there no wall? Tiny tremors race through my body as I
continue standing on an empty battlefield with no protection
between DG and me. He hasn’t moved any closer,
but he’s changed his stance. He’s got his arms folded
over his chest. The dagger’s gone and irritation pulses
from every fiber of his being, trickling into me and making
me sweat. I lick a salty droplet off my upper lip.

“Don’t strain yourself, Dream-walker,” DG says.
“In my head, I’m the boss.” His voice is hard as the steel
I’d failed to create. He sighs. “Look, I don’t have my
coordinates, but my emergency code is—”
Blood dribbles down his chin. He gurgles, spitting
up more blood. He rubs his mouth with his right hand,
and it comes away bright red. I feel panic explode inside
him like a punch to my own stomach.

“Oh gods.” His voice sounds syrupy and congested.
He doubles over, and a thin string of blood yo-yo’s from
his lips. Violent choking noises become the soundtrack
over an otherwise silent battlefield. DG staggers to his
knees, clutching his left shoulder, and I gape as blood
seeps through the spaces between his fingers.
Horror grabs me and won’t let go. My minor tremors
turn to full-blown shakes. Pain echoes from DG’s
body into mine. Something sharp tears a hole through
my left shoulder, severing tendons and splintering bone.

I expect to feel hot blood running down my arm and torso, but I only feel beads of sweat rolling down my face and back.

ChildofMagicChildofMagicChildofMagic.

The voice seems to come from everywhere and nowhere.
The wind blows so hard I barely stay on my feet. I
spin around, and see tall gray trees with V-shaped leaves
surrounding the battle area. They weren’t here before.
The war zone isn’t a plowed field on a plain; it’s a clearing.
The trees sway in the wind, bending so that they’re
bowing backward and marking a path through tall blades
of purple grass. A deep feeling of need squeezes my guts
together in a vice grip better than DG’s. I gasp as my legs
start moving on their own. I’m walking toward the path.

No! No! I try to plant my feet, but they won’t stop.
I’m not in control; psychics always have to be in control.
If they’re not—if I’m not, I lose my mind.

“D-don’t leave. H-help...” a broken voice calls.

Something snaps like a tether line stretched too
far inside me. I stumble a few steps before I can stop
walking and stand, feet together, fists clenched. My heart
practically vibrates it’s going so fast, and my lungs burn
from too much air. I’ve been breathing in but not out.
Fear prickles under my skin. I feel scrubbed raw.

“D-don’t go. Please. I don’t want to die,” the broken
voice calls again. Hitching breaths and hoarse sobs
make me turn around. DG is curled on his right side, in
fetal position. Blood saturates the dirt around him, red
and purple mix together making black.

I take slow steps to reach him, kneeling down and
grimacing at the warm, sticky feeling of blood on my
bare knees. Resting a hand on his back, I peer into his
face. His eyes are squeezed shut, feathery lashes fluttering
like he’s in REM sleep. He could be waking up from
his dream, meaning I’ll be waking up soon as well. I
should be relieved, but I’m not.

“Hey.” I shake him and his eyes open, but they’re
dazed, pupils dilated. “What were you telling me about
an emergency code? I need to know now. I think you’re
waking up.”

His mouth opens.

ChildofMagicChildofMagicChildofMagic.

Need floods me again. I have to move, to follow the
path. I hold onto DG to keep myself in place. “Tell me
what you want!” I yell at him.

“Need to go. Help me up.” His voice is stronger.

My hands hover over a huge blood stain on his uniform.
There’s no new blood. In the blink of an eye, his
uniform’s clean again and he looks like he did when he
first appeared to me.

He sits up, right hand going to his left shoulder and
squeezing it. “It stopped.” His eyes are fully alert. They
lock onto mine. “I have to go that way.” He nods toward
the bending trees. “And so do you, I think.”



About E. Ardell:

E. Ardell spent her childhood in Houston, Texas, obsessed with anything science fiction, fantastic, paranormal or just plain weird. She loves to write stories that feature young people with extraordinary talents thrown into strange and dangerous situations. She took her obsession to the next level, earning a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern Maine where she specialized in young adult genre fiction. She’s a big kid at heart and loves her job as a teen librarian at Monterey Public Library in Monterey, California, where she voluntarily shuts herself in rooms with hungry hordes of teenagers and runs crazy after-school programs for them. When she’s not working, she’s reading, writing, running writers critique groups, trying to keep up with a blog, and even writing fan fiction as her guilty pleasure.


Just Over Here - Adulting and Stuff

Hello Beautiful People!

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Since completing The Caelian Cycle, I've been on a sort of hiatus. My brain needed to reset after being in Sadie's world for over a year. Since publishing SHIFT: I read a TON of books, beta read for other authors, finally decided to move from a nose stud to ring, and dyed my hair blue.

You know... grown up things. 

But that doesn't mean I haven't been busy working on my next novel. Space Captain novel has been in the works since March, but with me finalizing SHIFT and working on promotional stuff - including my first book signing - and getting started into another school year. I haven't had much time to work on the actual writing of Space Captain.

I have, however, been hard at work on the "outline". My outlines are more of a general idea of where the characters should go, but usually I don't follow my own rules very well. Those pesky characters sometimes change the story for me. :D

On that note, I will say that Space Captain novel will be labeled as a New Adult instead of Young Adult - only because the characters are in that age range and not because there's explicit bedroom action.

With fingers crossed, I will be writing daily starting October 1st (after I pack up my family and move). If I can resist the urge to procrastinate, then - according my my schedule - I should be good for a release in early 2017. 

Stay Awesome!

Book Tour & Review: Petrified by Olaf Moriarty Solstrand (@olafmoriarty) + #GIVEAWAY


Petrified


Author: Olaf Moriarty Solstrand
Published: August 15th, 2016
Pages: 143
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy


Source:  I received this book for free from YA Bound Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.


Blurb:

Gunhild is a private in the Royal Army. She’s headstrong and reckless, but she’s also the best troll hunter in the country, and when a troll gets away with a national treasure, she’s the only person with any chance of getting it back.

Kirabo was on his way home to Aberash after a fulfilled research mission, but he managed to enter the wrong coordinates into his spaceship. Now he and his PA robot are stranded on a far-off planet, and they don’t have enough fuel to get back home.

As genres collide on Troll Island, Earth, the troll hunter and the space explorer have to overcome their differences and work together if they want to survive this fairytale.


My Review:

Okay, when I first saw the cover to Petrified, I will have to say the spaceship and young girl in a medieval getup intrigued me. Then the blurb added a bit a fuel to the fire and I wasn’t wrong to pick up this novel.

Trolls + Robots + Aliens = so much yes!

Petrified is THE most unique YA novel I read this year. It’s like Lord of the Rings meets Independence Day except the main character is a kick ass teenage heroine and a sassy robot side kick thrown in the mix. It was obvious to me that Solstrand poured time into world building and characterization. Even with all the world and character development, there was plenty of action to keep the plot rolling. No boredom here.

Gunhild is an amazing YA character. There’s not many novels with a female protag that goes on a self-discovery that doesn’t including falling in love. I mean, how many novels have you read where the female protag sets out on an adventure and comes back changed for the better without some romance sub-plot? Not Petrified. Gunhilds evolution from fearless, hot-head to calculated heroine makes her an amazing role model for any young girl who will pick this book up... Who wouldn’t want to read about a strong, female warrior?

If you like fantasy elements smashed with science fiction, substantial character growth, and no romance. Then Petrified is the book for you.



Book Tour & Excerpt: The Departed by @kristycooperYA


The Departed


Author: Kristy Cooper
Published: July 6th, 2016
Pages: 176
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Religion


Source:  I received this book for free from YA Bound Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

FREE on Kindle Unlimited


Blurb:

What if someone tried to fake the rapture?

When hundreds of thousands of people disappear in the middle of the night, including sixteen-year-old Gwen's best friend Lana, no one knows why. Some believe they were taken in the rapture, while others are convinced that it can't be true. Doomsday prophecies abound that involve horrifying tales of plague, famine, earthquakes, and more.

At first, Gwen doesn't know what to think. While she is busy mourning Lana, many people around her are getting taken in by the cultish True Believers Temple, including Gwen's dad and her friend Mindy. It is clear that more and more people are going to be pressured to join this church, as it starts taking over the media and the government, gaining zealous followers all over the world.

Then Gwen starts receiving emails from Lana. She claims to have been forced into hiding with thousands of others in an underground compound. Gwen is convinced the emails are real and the only other person who also believes her is Isaiah, her moody crush. Together they resolve to find out where everyone is hiding and help set Lana free.


My Review:

The Departed Excerpt from Chapter 1

The first strange thing that happened was that my best friend Lana didn't text me back that morning. This is the kind of statement that makes adults roll their eyes, and at first I didn't think anything of it either. We usually exchanged about twenty-plus messages every morning before we got to school. I figured that she may have just gotten in trouble and her parents had taken her phone away, which happened pretty often. One time they took her phone away because she had been caught texting during a church service. Another time they took it away just because her lip gloss looked too "lipsticky"—whatever that means. They were super strict like that.

The next weird thing that happened was when I came down to the kitchen for breakfast and found my mom completely absorbed in her tablet. This was only weird because she had a rule about anyone using devices during "family time," which the ten minutes it took me to eat breakfast were supposed to constitute.

Normally, she would immediately put it down when I came into the room in order for me not to think she was being a hypocrite. Instead she continued her concentrated scowl in the glow of her tablet's screen, despite the fact that I had already poured my cereal and was sitting across from her at the table.

"Ahem," I finally said with my eyebrows raised.

Mom looked up at me sheepishly. "Sorry about that, Gwen," she said, putting her tablet down. "What do you have planned for today?" I figured whatever she was looking at must not have been that important if she didn't think it was worth mentioning.

"The usual. You know, going to school and stuff." I knew how much my mom hated vague answers to specific questions. She prided herself on having open communication with her teenager.

"Okay, I deserved that."

I smiled. "I think Lana is in trouble again," I offered.

"What else is new?" she laughed.

"She hasn't replied to me yet all morning."

"Holy rollers can be such buzzkills. Aren't you lucky to have cool parents that are not punishing you all the time?"

"Yeah, you guys are so cool . . ." I said, rolling my eyes. I considered that maybe I should find some friends whose parents were obviously cooler so my mom didn’t let it get into her head that she is such a "cool" parent. "There's totally nothing cooler than parents who point out how cool they are all the time."

"Well, if we don't point it out, you might forget," my dad said as he walked into the kitchen. "What's going on this morning?"

"Lana hasn't texted Gwen back yet this morning. So obviously something catastrophic has happened," Mom answered.

"You know, she could just be in the shower or something?" Dad pointed out. "Or do you guys bring your phones in the shower now too?"

"Yeah, it's been like a half hour. No one showers that long."

"Well, I would if I didn't have to go to work every morning."

"Great story, Dad . . ." I said and took another bite of my cereal.


About Kristy Cooper:

Kristy Cooper found herself often contemplating unusual what-if scenarios and knew it was time to start writing them down. She worked as a librarian for years and is now busy raising small children and writing YA novels. 

Stay up to date with her books at kristycooper.com, follow her on twitter @kristycooperYA, and find her on facebook at facebook.com/AuthorKristyCooper.


Book Review: The V Girl by @MyaRobarts + #GIVEAWAY


The V Girl


Author: Mya Robarts
Published: June 20th, 2014
Pages: 334
Audience: New Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Sexual Abuse


Source:  I received this book for free from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.


Blurb:

In post-apocalyptic North America, rape and sexual slavery are legal. Lila Velez, desperately wants to lose her virginity before the troops visit her town and can take it away by force. She makes plans to seduce her only friend, Rey, the most attractive man in her town. Lila does not love him but he is the only man who has shown her true affection, an affection she is willing to take as a substitute of love.

Lila’s coping mechanism to her mother’s rape and kidnapping is her secret. A secret that will bring her closer to Aleksey, a foreign, broody man. Lila does not trust him because his links to the troops and his rough, yet irresistible appearance. Aleksey offers Lila an alternative to her plans, a possibility that terrifies her…and tempts her in spite of herself. 

All the while Lila will have to find a way to live in the constant company of death, slavery, starvation, sexual abuse and the danger of losing the people she loves the most.

Due to mature content, this book is intended for +18 readers.


My Review:

Let’s be honest, I was wary going into The V Girl. Sexual violence is not a subject I typically expose myself to because it’s triggering and honestly Dystopia’s are a subject I try to avoid because of burnout, but I was drawn in through the idea of Lila’s world.

“I’m not afraid of what could happen to me. I fear for my family.” – The V Girl, Mya Roberts

Roberts has created a terrifyingly realistic world that, if the multiverse theory is true, could be one of the many futures of America. Lila’s world is cruel, unforgiving, and violent. The military recruits not only for soldiers, but they force others into sexual slavery for the military. As if being a slave isn’t bad enough, when you are picked, you will be raped on a stone before your entire community. All live in fear of recruitment and knowing that the soldiers will be coming to town, Lila is on a mission – that her first time be with someone she cares about, not against her will. And her eyes are set on her best friend Rey.

“Unfortunately, the twins have witnessed sexual violence and death. In wartime, you can’t protect children from the cruelest facts of life.” – The V Girl, Mya Roberts

Lila is an extremely likeable character. She is strong, yet is naive when it comes to love, relationships, and life. One of my favorite quirks of her character is her compulsion to be a voyeur. As a girl who fears being raped, she watches a loving couple engage in sexual acts to remind herself that sex can be a loving act even if her actions of peeping may seem as something sick. I understood her on a deeper level in those moments.

“Watching lovers may be a perverted act, but I need to remind myself that sex can be an expression of love.” – The V Girl, Mya Roberts

Lila repeatedly makes dangerous mistakes while on her quest to seduce her friend Rey. Her father and brother are disabled causing her entire family to be outcasts in the community. This raises Lila to the status of main provider, so she has to travel out of town – a dangerous activity for a V girl – to work. Lila isn’t taken in by either side of this war that has torn the United States apart – she is loyal to how it was before when everyone is free and that gives her an edge from many of the other characters.

“I wonder why girls, in his mind, couldn’t be fighters. Are we only brides, baby carriers, or recruits?” – The V Girl, Mya Roberts

Love is a complicated matter in The V Girl and although looking from the outside in, I can understand the frustration at Lila for not seeing that Aleksey is a good man who is trying to save Lila and her family. In her world, I’m sure many men have used the savior/sweet angle to lure girls. I think her hesitancy is completely based in fear – half for fear of if Aleksey is truly dangerous and half in fear that he’s not.

That being said, although I liked Aleksey as a man and character in this world, there were many aspects of his personality that seemed too intense and I had to remind myself that he’s a product of the world just like Lila. By the end of the book, I was enamored with him though. He and Lila are truly a good match.

 “Now that familiarity has set in, I have discovered all of the men inside Aleskey’s body: the expert lover, the dominate alpha, the honorable soldier, the poet, the child inside the twenty-five-year-old man. – The V Girl, Mya Roberts

The V Girl is a dark, gritty tale that is nothing like you’d expect it to be. Rape and romance are two subjects that you would never expect to be in the same story, but it works. The sweetness of Alesky’s and Lila’s romance brings light to a very dark tale.



About Mya Robarts:

Mya Robarts is a bookaholic who regrets nothing. She aspired to be a contemporary dance choreographer when she discovered a pull for expressing her choreography ideas in written form.

After years of writing short stories. Mya will release her debut novel "The V girl" in two languages.


Book Review: Saven Denial by @siobhandavis

Saven Denial


Series: Saven #2.5
Author: Siobhan Davis
Published: May 21st, 2016
Pages: 98
Audience: YA
Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Aliens


Source:  I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

Available for FREE with Kindle Unlimited


Blurb:

THE TRUTH HURTS

My mother was right to fear me. 
I’m an abomination. 
And the world should be very afraid.
 

Sadie has been kidnapped by the Tor, the vindictive alien race who destroyed Thalassic City. As her past, present, and future collides, her worst nightmare looks set to become her shocking new reality. 

A deliberate pawn in leader Griselda’s vengeful game, Sadie is horrified to learn the truth about her heritage and the destiny that’s already been mapped out for her. Refusing to cooperate, she risks paying the ultimate price for her defiance. 

Love for Logan is her only motivation to stay alive. Saving him is the only thing that matters—the fate of the world depends upon it. While he may never forgive her, she’s determined to protect him. Until her dying breath. 

Note from the author: 
This continues the story from where it ended in Saven Disclosure. This is not an optional novella but an essential read if you don't want to miss out on important plot developments. Please note there is a cliffhanger and it is not a standalone story. You will need to continue the series to find out what is next in store for Sadie and Logan.


My Review:

If you have been keeping up with my posts, you will see that this novella is #2.5 in the Saven series by Siobhan Davis. Check out earlier review of Saven Deception and Saven Disclosure here.

If there’s one thing Davis does well is grip you with some amazing story telling and this novella doesn’t disappoint. Although Denial is much shorter than the previous novels, it packs a mighty punch in both the story and in your feels.

Disclosure left you in a high stakes cliffhanger that resumes in Denial. Sadie’s life is crazy. She’s involved in all kinds of political drama – both human and alien, she’s fighting for equal rights, her love life is smoldering *wink wink* to those who have/will read the book.

Without her choice, Sadie is whisked away to another alien world where she discovers many truths about herself, most of them appalling. She holds on her love for Logan and all of her friends and family left behind on earth – using that love to strengthen her resolve.

“She acts as if she knows me, and it scares the hell out of me” – Saven Denial, Siobhan Davis

Denial was by far my favorite book of the series (so far). I can honestly say my love for this book is because Logan is not a key player. He’s in her thoughts and fuels her actions, but he’s not there being overbearing. It was refreshing.

We are introduced to new characters – specifically Axton who I enjoyed and although I know Logan is Sadie’s eterno/soul-mate, I’d ship her with Axton any day just because he can control his über alpha maleness better than Logan.

Seriously though, there was so much information revealed and deep character development for Sadie that redeemed some of the quirks I grew to dislike. Her actions and history revealed in Denial should make for an interesting return to Earth.

“The truth is on the outskirts of my mind, playing a spiteful game of hide and seek.” – Saven Denial, Siobhan Davis

Pick up this novella. I speculate that you will have to read this novella to continue the series. So don’t miss out. If you like aliens, fire-powered babes, politics, secret histories, crazy time-travel enigmas that you could easily forgive because hey it’s science fiction, and a heroine who just wants to know what the hell is going on… pick up Saven Denial.

Book Review: Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein @OWildWrites

Rose Petal Graves


Series: The Lost Clan Series
Author: Olivia Wildenstein
Published: May 15th, 2016
Pages: 183
Audience: New Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Myths, Faeries


Source:  I received this book for free from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.


Blurb:

I thought losing my mother would be the greatest shock of my life, but the greatest shock came after her death. 

Founded two centuries ago by an aloof and powerful tribe of Gottwa Indians, Rowan was a quiet town, so quiet that I fled after graduation. Staying away was the plan, but Mom died suddenly, so I rushed home. 

Dad said she suffered a stroke after she dug up one of the ancient graves in our backyard, which happens to be the town cemetery. Creepy, I know. Creepier still, there was no corpse inside the old coffin, only fresh rose petals. 

As we made preparations for Mom’s burial, Cruz, the new medical examiner, arrived. I should have felt relieved, but how could I? He was unnervingly handsome, glowed like a human firefly, and knew absolutely nothing about examining dead bodies. 

But, he did know what killed my mother…or rather who. 


My Review:

I have a huge spot in my heart for the paranormal genre – especially if it involves shifters or faeries. Some of the first books that really caught my attention growing up involved faerie stories and although, every single one of my writing idea’s fall firmly in the science fiction genre, I will ALWAYS enjoy a good paranormal.

Rose Petal Graves – I mean that title. Just wow. And then I saw the cover for Rose Petal Graves, I nearly died from its beauty, but when I read the blurb I squealed in joy. I’ve been craving a good faerie story.

The story is a quick read, but that’s to be expected of a novella. Rose Petal Graves is an opening story to Wildenstein’s new series and open it did. The book opens on the main character Catori or Cat, going home to bury her mother where she finds the handsome medical examiner, Cruz, waiting for her. Soon after all the action begins and before you know it you are left with a huge cliffhanger. Usually I’m super okay with cliffhangers, but the one at the end of this novella seemed rushed and unfinished.

Cat is a character that I have severe mixed feelings about. I understand her in most ways because her sassy independence paired with her cynicism reminds me a lot of myself as a teenager. Her reactions to painting the door was exactly something I would have done in my grief in my younger years.

“I was offered condolences and patted so many times on my way out that when I stepped onto pavement, it felt like freedom.” – Olivia Wildenstein, Rose Petal Graves

Other than that, I really didn’t like her very much. She is very selfish to those around her, especially to her closest friends and family. The whole wind chime bit got me right in the feels. I almost despised Cat when she threw her mother’s wind chime in the trash because some sexy guy asked her to. Not cool. There wasn’t much depth of character development in this story and I hope that is redeemed in the next book – I want to like her.

All of the other characters didn’t have the chance for development as well and although on the surface I liked them, I want a little more. Especially from Cruz since they seemed to have a bit of a romance spark going on.

“The sparks that had erupted over my skin the first night he touched me exploded inside my body.” – Olivia Wildenstein, Rose Petal Graves

All that being said, I adored the faerie/ Native American folklore. Mixed with Wildenstein’s elegant writing style made this novella worth it. Although I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I would have hoped, I am intrigued by the morsel that is Rose Petal Graves and will be picking up the first novel in The Lost Clan Series. 


I'm Not Dead...

Well, obviously because who is posting all these Book Reviews and Blog Tours.

Seriously though, I have been a little M.I.A. in the personal blog post department. Blogging has never been my strong suit. Coming up with subject matter that’s interesting? UGH… who do you think I am a writer? Oh... wait...

Yeah Okay. I write stuff about things, but I take many hours to fine tune my ideas before spending even more hours writing them. Then heaping another few hundred more hours with edits and promotions... Books take a lot of time, but somehow are hella easier than ONE. SIMPLE. BLOG. POST.

That being said, I am going to try to make time for personal posts. Even if the only thing I have to say is – today I wrote some words and parented some children. That’s interesting, right?

Right?

In the spirit of blogging here is my update: kids = unpredictable, self = stressed, family = love them, friends = both wonderful and tragic, and books = excited.

With my family selling our house and our move looming in the distance, writing has been a thing I do when I’m not cleaning my house for a showing or running around looking at other houses to buy. SHIFT has finally received a release date of July 22nd 2016 and will conclude The Caelian Cycle. I’m sad to see Sadie’s story come to an end, but at the same time thrilled to start on a new project.

Earlier this year, I decided to jump ahead in my Works-In-Progress line to write a stand-alone novel to honor my JanMom BFF who passed away in March. This novel had nothing more than an idea and some working thoughts on character development (unlike the duology I have been working on for almost a year while writing The Caelian Cycle).

Since finishing SHIFT, I have spent what little free time I have researching and developing this new world set in a different part of our galaxy. Not everything has been set in stone, but I have a working plot and an interesting history for my new set of characters.

I can’t wait to share it with you, but until then check out SHIFT on Goodreads or Amazon and please leave reviews – indie authors depend on them in order to sell more books. 

Until then - STAY AWESOME!

Blog Tour & Review: Artificial by Jadah McCoy @theQueryFaerie + #GIVEAWAY


Artificial


Series: The Kepler Chronicles #1
Author: Jadah McCoy
Published: April 4th, 2016
Pages: 225
Audience: New Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Genetic Engineering


Source:  I received this book for free from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

Available for FREE with Kindle Unlimited


Blurb:

She struggles to feel human.

In 2256, the only remnants of civilization on Earth’s first colonized planet, Kepler, are the plant-covered buildings and the nocturnal, genetically spliced bug-people nesting within them: the Cull. During the day, Syl leaves her home in the sewers beneath Elite City to scavenge for food, but at night the Cull come looking for a meal of their own. Syl thought gene splicing died with the Android War a century ago. She thought the bugs could be exterminated, Elite city rebuilt, and the population replenished. She’s wrong.

Whoever engineered the Cull isn’t done playing God. Syl is abducted and tortured in horrific experiments which result in her own DNA being spliced, slowly turning her into one of the bugs. Now she must find a cure and stop the person responsible before every remaining man, woman, and child on Kepler is transformed into the abomination they fear.

He struggles not to.

For Bastion, being an android in the sex industry isn’t so bad. Clubbing beneath the streets of New Elite by day and seducing the rich by night isn’t an altogether undesirable occupation. But every day a new android cadaver appears in the slum gutters, and each caved in metal skull and heap of mangled wires whittles away at him.

Glitches—androids with empathy—are being murdered, their models discontinued and strung up as a warning. Show emotion, you die. Good thing Bastion can keep a secret, or he would be the next body lining the street.

He can almost live with hiding his emotions. That is, until a girl shows up in the slums—a human girl, who claims she was an experiment. And in New Elite, being a human is even worse than being a Glitch. Now Bastion must help the girl escape before he becomes victim to his too-human emotions, one way or another.


My Review:

“When the sky is bruised purple, when the shattered glass no longer glints, that is when they wake.” – Artificial, Jadah McCoy

When it comes to science fiction, it doesn’t take a lot to make me excited. The genre speaks to me in ways that none of the others can compare to. Yes, I have been feeling a little BLAH with the influx of dystopias as of late, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t pick one up.  That being said, when I was scanning through book tours and saw the absolutely gorgeous cover for Artificial and then read the exciting blurb – I got all kinds of excited for this novel.

“If I’ve learned anything from the few yellowed and fragile history books that remain, it’s that mankind loves nothing more than a scapegoat.” – Artificial, Jadah McCoy

Artificial is not a typical YA/NA dystopia. It’s a layered masterpiece of storytelling that keeps you both enthralled and confused by the complexities of this futuristic society. AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT! I just cannot think of another book – that I have read – that includes so many SciFi elements (genetic engineering, androids, other worlds, dystopia society, and all wrapped in a neat cyberpunk package) in a way that doesn’t feel phony and weave them into a multifaceted story of civil liberties of intelligent creatures and morality.

Syl, a human living in the sewage under the former human city of Elite, is a gritty and raw lead female that has no issues expressing herself and fighting for what she feels is right. She is a refreshing character in the expansive landscape of female-lead dystopias.

“That look is back – the starry-eyed one I always ignore. Maybe if I ignore it long enough, his feelings will go away.” – Artificial, Jadah McCoy

Syl’s hardness is a direct result of having to fight for her life every day since the moment she was born.

“That’s just like him, shove little Syl out of the way so the menfolk can blow stuff up with their big, phallic guns.” – Artificial, Jadah McCoy

Her tenacity is forged from being told that her job as a woman is to ensure humanity’s survival through procreation instead of fighting.

“I refuse to be one of those wide-eyed women back at the Sanctuary – the ones who stare as the Cull’s pincers slice them in two.” – Artificial, Jadah McCoy

Then there is Bastion, a sex android who is trying to stay under the radar of those in charge of the machine-run town of New Elite. He is a glitch – an android who has emotions. In an ironic twist of governing, the androids in charge have deemed glitches as “human sympathizers” and will be destroyed. Bastion character compliments Syl perfectly. Where Syl tamps down any emotion she feels and tries not to make any deep connections, Bastion feels everything and has a sassy personality to boot – never thought I would ever write that about an android. Since the story is told from both character’s perspectives, the reader gets to feel his emotions without Bastion giving himself away.

“She would fight him like an angry kitten would fight a dog, but she would still lose.” – Artificial, Jadah McCoy

Let me be straight with you, I honestly thought going in that Syl and Bastion would either insta-love or do the slowly, but steady fall madly in love with each other thing. Neither happened and – again – I couldn’t be happier. Yes, there is a spark of feeling between the two that encourages their continued involvement in each other’s lives, but it doesn’t go much farther than that – I’m sure future installments will expound upon those feelings and for that, I cannot wait.

When it comes to series, authors (myself included) tend to leave endings open or in a maddening cliffhanger. McCoy leaves Artificial wrapped up rather nicely to where you feel like you finished a story, but then sets up the next book in a way that doesn’t leave the reader feeling unsatisfied. Bravo McCoy!

If you like an imaginative world building that is descriptive in subtle ways – my favorite type of narrative when it comes to complex science fiction worlds – a gritty female lead, a sassy sex-bot android, monsters of the genetic variety, as well as, human and android, and dystopian societal structure just looking to be taken down… look no further. Artificial is the book for you.



About Jadah McCoy:

Jadah currently lives in Nashville, TN and works in law. When not babysitting attorneys, she can be found juicing her brain for creative ideas or fantasizing about her next trip out of the country (or about Tom Hiddleston as Loki - it’s always a toss up when she fantasizes).

She grew up in rural Arkansas, yet can still write good and sometimes even wears shoes! She did date her first cousin for a while but they decided against marriage for the sake of the gene pool.

Her true loves are elephants, cursing, and sangria - in that order. If you find an elephant that curses like a sailor whilst drinking sangria, you’re dangerously close to becoming her next romantic victim - er, partner.

She cut her writing teeth on badly written, hormone-driven fanfiction (be glad that’s out of her system), and her one true dream is to have wildly erotic fanfiction with dubious grammar written about her own novels. Please make her dreams come true.


Author Links:

https://jadahmccoy.wordpress.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14903289.Jadah_McCoy

https://www.facebook.com/Jadah-McCoy-Author-1570450153179469/


Blog Tour & Excerpt: Endangered by @DaniHootsAuthor + #GIVEAWAY


Endangered


Series: Daughter of Hades #1
Author: Dani Hoots
Published: May 10th, 2016
Pages: 296
Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal, Urban, Mythology 


Source:  I received this book for free from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

Available for FREE on Kindle Unlimited


Blurb:

Chrys has been in the Underworld for thousands of years, hidden away by her father, Hades, from all of the other gods. He's afraid that if someone finds out about her, they will destroy her because of the dichotomous power that she holds, the power of life and death. So she has remained in the Palace of Hades all her life, making very few friends and always bored out of her mind.

Huntley would have never guessed that after he died he would wake up with a beautiful girl standing over him. And that she would be the Dark Lord of the Underworld's daughter. Yet, for some reason, she keeps him around as her tutor, as if he knows anything about the world. But Huntley knows that all she really wants is a friend; being trapped in the Underworld can get pretty lonely. 

That is, until Chrys decides she wants to run away to the human world after a big fight with her mother Persephone. Chrys claims her father is just over reacting and that nothing bad will come of it. There's no way that the gods will notice she's there for only a couple of days...right?


Excerpt:

CHAPTER 7

Chrys

 

                The River Styx is really intimidating. Like, seriously.

                I honestly never really realized it until now, being without someone who knew how to guide the boat for me. I had only taken a boat out a couple of times, but never this far, and never with this much risk. Now that I stood there, waiting for the others, I found myself questioning my decision a little bit. Not enough to turn back, but enough to realize that Father was going to be really pissed if he found out I had hijacked a boat and left the Underworld with two of my friends. I guess I knew that already but it was hitting me hard now.

                I had left a note for him, telling him we were going to visit Maka and not to worry, that we would be back in a few days. He knew I needed to let off a little steam and that leaving me alone was the best choice. At least, I hoped.

                I was already wearing my ring and waiting to give A.J. and Huntley theirs. I was almost past the point of no return, making a decision that could get me in the worst of trouble.

                And it felt exhilarating.

                I was surprised that Huntley wasn’t fully on board with this, but more cautious than A.J. and I were. He was only coming because he wanted to make sure I was safe. But if A.J. thought it would be fine, I really doubted it was going to end badly.

                At least I hoped that it wouldn’t.

                A.J. was the cautious one out of the three of us, so if Huntley thought it was fine, it was probably going to be fine. I trusted him, especially after all this time. He cared enough to stay in the Palace for me, so he had to be speaking the truth.

                A.J. and Huntley showed up, checking behind them to make sure there wasn’t anyone following them. I nodded to both of them and handed them the rings. They slipped them on their fingers, and we quickly climbed in the boat to travel around the River Styx into the sky that was Oceanus.

                The boat was like an old gondola that might simply crumble if we were going over actual water.  It was beyond old, probably the same age as the Underworld itself. It creaked and cracked as we stood on it, rocking slightly back and forth. The three of us each grabbed a stick and pushed off the peer of the palace and into the river we went.

                “How does this actually work?” Huntley asked. “I mean, it looks like we are traveling on clouds.”

                “You really going to ask questions of how things work in the Underworld? Not just accept that things work differently here?” A.J. replied. We had barely been gone for a couple of moments and they were already arguing.

                “The rivers here are more like air currents, trapping things that have been lost in the mortal realm,” I explained. “The river we are on now is the River Styx, the River of Hatred. It is but one of five rivers. Most of the dead come to this world via Acheron, the River of Pain. It is where Charon runs his service. The other rivers flow through the Underworld and serve as transportation to places throughout. But without a boat, all of the rivers will curse those who try to escape, so make sure the water doesn’t touch you.”

                Huntley glanced over the water, his eyes wide. I probably should have mentioned that earlier, but it had completely slipped my mind. When you knew something for such a long time, it was hard to remember to tell others who might not know.

                “Don’t worry, you’re fine. But because of this, no god from the other realms can get through Oceanus, which is why Father has hidden me away for so long. That is, except Hermes, he can travel between realms. Why that is, no one really knows. He kinda just appears some days and Father can’t figure out how he’s doing it. As for my mother, well, it’s really rare for anyone to come to the Underworld and be able to go back to Earth. In some legends the hero can, or antagonist, depending on your point of view. The River Styx was their greatest obstacle.”

                “But she sneaks men in here,” Huntley countered.

                I nodded. “Yeah, but they don’t come by themselves. She pays Charon to escort them. He will escort anything as long as he gets paid.”

                “Oh. So which one is the River Styx?” Huntley asked.

                I gestured in front of us. “This one. We will be going around the Underworld seven times and then be dumped into Oceanus.”

                “Seven times? Won’t that take forever?”

                I shrugged. “Space is weird here. Doesn’t take too long actually and the farther we get, the faster it starts to go.”

                “Oh, I guess that makes sense,” Huntley said. “Then where is Oceanus?”

                I nodded up. “You see the blue clouds that covers the entire realm? That’s Oceanus.”

                He looked up at the sky. The molten blue shimmered in the light of the morning. Where the morning light really came from, I still wasn’t sure. This world was weird, I had to agree.

                “Shit. How are we supposed to get through that?” he asked.

                “Hence the boat, moron,” A.J. commented.

                Huntley pointed up. “Yeah, but that doesn’t have a surface that we can travel on.”

                I shook my head. “That’s because we don’t travel on it. We travel through it. Oceanus is like a shell between this world and Earth.”

                “Oh yeah, that’s going to be fun. Do you even know where we are going to end up?”

                I was silent. I actually didn’t. I figured, probably wherever my mother was last, but I couldn’t be sure. It wasn’t like I had a preference. Anywhere was better than here. Finally, I shrugged.

                “We don’t even know where we are going?” Huntley exclaimed. “Chrys, seriously, get some sense in your head. This is a bad idea.”

                He was right, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I should turn back now, I had let my emotions get the better of me. I was turning into my mother.

                And I didn’t want that.



About Dani Hoots:

Dani Hoots is a science fiction, fantasy, romance, and young adult author who loves anything with a story. She has a B.S. in Anthropology, a Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning, and is currently in the Your Novel Year Program through Arizona State University.


Book Review: Saven Disclosure by @SiobhanDavis

Saven Disclosure


Series: Saven #2
Author: Siobhan Davis
Published: April 21st, 2016
Pages: 303
Audience: YA
Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Aliens


Source:  I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.

Available for FREE on Kindle Unlimited


Blurb:

THE TRUTH WON’T HIDE FOREVER

To protect Logan, I have no choice but to deceive him. 
But I’m not the only one hiding the truth. 
Will our love survive all the secrets and lies?
 

Enemy alien ships crowd the skies over Earth while the world waits with bated breath. The Saven have been exposed, and where once they were abhorred, they are now championed as our greatest ally and our only possible savior. 

Logan and Sadie have been separated, and the longer he is gone, the more their love is tested by duty, doubts, and deception. 

Sadie and Jarod have infiltrated the highest levels of government, but they are playing a dangerous game. Surrounded by people with conflicting agendas—hell-bent on using her for their own aim—Sadie is confused when the lines between good and evil are blurred. It’s impossible to tell friend from foe, and no one can be trusted. 

When the full extent of the experiments taking place in Sector Twenty is disclosed, Sadie can no longer sit back and watch as the lower classes face a horrific fate. Racing to save her loved ones and mankind, she risks her own safety and the love she’s waited a lifetime for to do the right thing. 

But no one thought to save her from herself.


My Review:

A few months ago, I reviewed a little book called Saven Deception. Although I wasn’t keen on the romance, I still really enjoyed the world and the intricate plot, so when Davis offered for me to be on her ARC team – I jumped on board. There was so many questions left in Deception that needed answered.

Saven Disclosure started off kind of slow for me and it was hard to get back into the world of Sadie and Logan, but it didn’t take too long for things to pick up and the plot to further thicken. There is so much that happens in Disclosure. I’m serious – at times I had a hard time keeping up with the lies and deceit. With that being said, I wasn’t surprised or shocked by any of the twists. In all actuality I was a little bummed with some of the reveals.

But I can tell you what I did love about Disclosure – Aliens! We were introduced to new species and worlds. The details of the alien culture and politics are vivid in their intricacies.

“Spiraling peaks of high-rise buildings glistened and glittered amidst rays of colorful lights sprouting from the dazzling, pulsing city below.” – Saven Disclosure, Siobhan Davis

My little nerd heart went a flutter with the infinite possibilities of additional alien races. Needless to say, I want more aliens.

As far as the characters go, there isn’t much change for me from the last book. Separately, Sadie and Logan’s characters grew in ways that I enjoyed. For example, Sadie grew a little bit more of a backbone.

“I can’t recall the exact moment I became an adrenaline junkie, but there’s no denying my worrisome excitement.” – Saven Disclosure, Siobhan Davis

But together they were just not happening for me and it’s because of the romance, but I’ll get more into that later. Sadie’s relationship with her sister was amazing to read. I loved every moment of them together – I wish the book was more about that kind of love.

“Making new memories is the best cure for past ills.” – Saven Disclosure, Siobhan Davis

I really enjoyed the exploration of lies in relationships – not only romantic ones but in friendships as well – and how it forced the characters to grow and become more aware of others in the sense of how lies can not only emotionally hurt, but in the political environment Sadie finds herself in, lies can be deadly.

Ahh… the romance. At times it is heartbreaking:

“I often wonder how I survived pre-Logan; in those bleak, dark, depressing days when I never had anyone to call my own and my heart was only a life-sustaining organ in my chest.” – Saven Disclosure, Siobhan Davis

At times it can be real:

“I never imagined love could be so complicated and come with so many conditions.” – Saven Disclosure, Siobhan Davis

Then there is this:

“Being with him means more than I can express. It’s everything. He’s everything. I start and end with him.” – Saven Disclosure, Siobhan Davis

I just can’t get on board with the intense all-consuming love that removes Sadie’s will. It just isn’t healthy for the characters or for young female readers. Plus, what bothers me the most is that this relationship is only 6 weeks old at the beginning of Disclosure- most of which they have been separated. Yet, they know each other so well that they can tell when the other is avoiding answering serious questions, but they’re not able to catch any “tells” that the other is lying.

I... I... I just can't.

What it all boils down to me is that I really don’t like this Eterno connection and everything it entails. I really hope something or someone changes in future installments. But until then I’ll agree with Hayden:

 “He isn’t worthy of you. You deserve better, don’t you see?” – Saven Disclosure, Siobhan Davis

Saven Disclosure is a wild ride full of political betrayal, espionage, new worlds, alien wars, ROMANCE EVERYWHERE, and at the center a girl who just wants her people to be free and not conquered by an alien species.

Really is there more you could ask for?  


About Siobhan Davis:

I write young adult science fiction fantasy romance books, set amidst a dystopian world, because they are the types of books that I love to read. Expect lots of kissing and romantic scenes! I also haven't been given the moniker 'The Cliffhanger Queen' for nothing!

A self-professed teenager forever--at least when it comes to books, music, and films, I am totally addicted to YA and NA fiction and superhero/blockbuster movies. I love baking, shoes, bags, makeup, anti-wrinkle cream, anything pink, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, and Robert Pattinson (definitely Team Edward).

Before pursuing a full-time writing career, I forged a successful corporate career in Human Resources over the last twenty years. I live in the Garden County of Ireland with my husband and two sons.

Follow my blog: http://myyanabookobsession.com

Connect with me:

Website: www.siobhandavis.com
Twitter: @siobhandavis
Facebook: TrueCallingBooks
Google+: +SiobhanDavisAuthor


Book Tour & Review: Grimm & White by @Emilyhansen5 + #GIVEAWAY


Grimm & White

Author: Emily Hansen
Publisher: Emily Hansen
Published: January 26th, 2016
Pages: 287
Audience: YA
Genre: Fairytale, Urban Fantasy

Source: I received a copy of this book from Bewitching Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

Who would you choose? 

I want you to put your hand over your heart. Press down against the skin, meld your fingers into the flesh, and listen to the beats. Can you hear how that one organ is keeping you alive? One pump. Two pumps. Three. 

Alice White Cabot would consider you lucky. She can press down in that same exact spot and she would feel…nothing. Allie does have: ten fingers and toes, one set of working lungs, a healthy liver, two small kidneys, stringy veins, long intestines, two-hundred and six breakable bones, and a big mouth. But in the empty chest cavity where the beating organ should be pulsing blood to the rest of Allie’s body, sits a void that only one person can fill. She is under the curse of the Heartless, and on her nineteenth birthday she will have to rip out the heart of the one she loves or she herself will die. 

Kallin Grimm is a nineteen-year-old boy from the Chicago suburbs. He’s a regular guy who likes football, video games, and hanging out with his friend Lennon. A few exceptions break his normal routine, like the incredible strength Kallin has that he can’t explain. Not to mention, Kallin is in love with a girl that he has never met. The only means of communication they have is a pen and an enchanted journal that was given to Kallin by his father. The journal’s twin belongs to Allie and whatever is written in one can be seen in the other. For the past year they have shared their secrets and their souls, which is why Allie knows they can never meet. It is the only way to keep his heart safe. 

Enter the dark world of curses, secrets, and a history as old as time. The novel opens on Allie’s eighteenth birthday. With one year left, she, along with her best friend Miles set off from California to find out more about the curse, her past, and to stay as far away from Kallin Grimm as she can. Their first lead is in Chicago. Maybe this curse is stronger than she thinks. Tick-Tick-Tick. 


My Review:

I have loved the Brothers Grimm and all their tales since I was a small child. In High School, I wrote poetry comparing Disney princesses to their Grimm stories. In College, I took every chance to use the Grimm Brother’s or any of their stories as subject matter – my final paper on “The Irony of Grimm’s Fairy Tales” won two local awards. Just last year my husband bought me the complete first edition of all their fairy tales for an anniversary present.

Why am I telling you this? Because I wanted you to know that when I saw the title for Grimm & White and the read the blurb – I was more than excited to read this novel!

 “Life is a war that can never be won. Some battles, the bullet grazes our armor. Other days we are ravaged and ruined and barely hanging on.” – Grimm & White, by Emily Hansen

In the world of Grimm & White, we find Allie – a sarcastic teen with a personality verging on the morbid, due to her literally having no heart. A curse placed on her family condemned all heartless to murder the one they love on their 19th birthday or they will die. Allie is set on never falling in love, but once her grandmother gave her a magical journal that connects to another one held by a boy named Kallin – they fall headfirst down a rabbit hole of angst-ridden love.

“Even my cat knows loving me is a mistake.” – Grimm & White, by Emily Hansen

First, I want to delve into the writing. Hansen is a master at description without being overtly so. Her words flowed almost like poetry off the page, making me feel more connected to the story.

For Example:

“Regret takes hold in places you can’t touch. It’s a damn itch you will never be able to scratch.” – Grimm & White, by Emily Hansen

From the first page you can tell that she put many hours of thought not only into the intricacies of the story, but in the nuances of each character. There wasn’t a one that didn’t have a history or an angle that either contributed to or hindered the solution of Allie and Kallin’s plight.

“Lies in my house are dispensed like dealing a deck of cards. Each flip turns over new information, but some cards trump the rest.” – Grimm & White, by Emily Hansen

Grimm & White is told from both the perspective of Allie and Kallin. Because of that we are able to see inside both of their minds. Both have their own set of issues and hang ups. Both are struggling with their emotions in vastly different ways. Both are endearing and perfect for each other.

Bravo! Hansen.

It’s a lost art in today’s YA to show a blossoming romance instead of insta-love. From the beginning of the book when they are just writing to each other to when they meet to the drama that unfolds, you can see how they grow in their love. It’s refreshing.

From Allie:

“He never told me about the gold specs that float in the bottom corners of his green eyes. I might have found my favorite thing in the world.” – Grimm & White, by Emily Hansen
“I find myself caring about his opinion of me.” – Grimm & White, by Emily Hansen

To Kallin:

“It’s not like I can tell my friends or family that the girl I’m in love with could be a figment of my imagination.” – Grimm & White, by Emily Hansen
 “A kindness like hers, one that is not boastful, will go unnoticed if you blink too long.” – Grimm & White, by Emily Hansen

The magical world of Grimm & White is full of everything I adored from the Grimm Brother’s tales. Dark characters, morbid curses, strange creatures, and with a promise that not every ending comes with a “Happily Ever After”. If that is what you’re into, I beg you – click on the purchase link and get you a copy.



About Emily Hansen:

Emily Hansen is a writer currently living in Baltimore City. She grew up in Illinois and will always call Chicago home. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Fiction. She is a 9th grade English teacher. She became a writer because she thinks that people should not have to look far to find magic in their lives. Her obsessions range from depressing poetry to one or ten cups of coffee a day. Grimm and White is her first novel.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/City.Writer.Emily

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Emilyhansen5  

Blog: http://emilyannhansen.weebly.com

Blog: http://itsnotyou-itsme.weebly.com


Book Tour & Excerpt: Hatred Day by @tspettibone


Hatred Day

Author: T.S. Pettibone
Publisher: Chrysanthalix Press
Published: January 29th, 2016
Pages: 356
Audience: YA
Genre: Science Fiction, Horror

Source: I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Available for FREE with Kindle Unlimited


Blurb:

In the year 2052, it's not love but hate that unites the world. 

Humanity is unified against the Inborns, an extraterrestrial species with godlike intelligence and abilities whose arrival on earth caused an environmental and biological crisis. 

Enslaved and despised even by her own Inbornkind, 18-year-old Snofrid Yagami reawakens to the world after having her memories stolen and is certain of only one thing: she will do anything to ensure her freedom. But her resolution is soon tested when the son of a high-ranking human official is murdered and her home city becomes the center of the interspecies war, one that might see the Inborns purged. Desperate to find a way out of the city for herself and her family, Snofrid risks making a deal with the manipulative Inborn Commander, Hadrian, and his brutal cadre of soldiers. Her task is simple: take part in a historic hunt that will bring wealth and fame to all who survive. Unfortunately, Snofrid’s role is one in which survival is rarely seen—the bait.


Excerpt:

A Girl and Her Ghost

Age 4
The Empyrean City

I lived alone in a room without windows. It had one door that only opened on the last day of the month. There were giant chests of toys in the room. I kept my dolls in a wooden trunk with flower carvings, and my thirty books, I stacked in neat rows along the walls. All of my dresses were stored in a wardrobe beside my bed; if I left one on the floor, it was hung by the morning. Each time I woke, a tray of meat, fruits and vegetables, and a pitcher of water was on the table. Someone took care of me; I didn’t know who, but I think the person liked when I was neat. I named the person Ghost. I wanted to make Ghost happy, so I always made sure my toys, books and clothes were put away before I went to sleep. I used to stay awake, hiding my face with my covers, waiting to see Ghost when it came in, but nothing ever happened. Once I stayed awake for hours, and by the twenty-ninth hour, the food still hadn’t come. I stopped trying to see Ghost after that.  

But I talked to Ghost every day.  

I told it about the things I read; I sang for it; I told it stories; I told it when I was sad, or afraid, or when I felt lonely; and I asked it questions, even though it never answered back. Almost every time I did these things, the floor creaked on the other side of the wall, so I knew Ghost was listening. This usually made me happy, but sometimes it made me sad. I wanted Ghost to let me see it and play with me in the room.  

I didn’t know where the room was. I’d stopped wondering a long time ago. I hadn’t seen sunlight, or beasts, or plants, or the stars; I only knew about these things from pictures in my books. My favorite pictures were ones of the sky, and of giant towers with windows, and of beasts with bright feathers and furry tails. 

I had no idea what I looked like. I’d never seen my own face, only a blurry reflection in my food tray. I knew my eyes were large and that I was very small. I hoped I was pretty like the highborn women I read about.  

The two tall, masked men who walked me to the library each month to choose thirty new books were the only people I’d seen. One of them was skinny and so white he looked sick. He wore a black robe and always tugged on the sleeves until strings fell on the floor. The other one was as big as a warrior. I’d learned by heart the House insignia on his breastplate—a cold blue wyvern head with seven silver horns above five golden keys. Around it were silver cypress leaves and golden anemone flowers; if I looked closely, I could see the soft outline of a solar eclipse behind the wyvern’s head. I liked the swishes his blue robe made as he moved; the clicking sounds his spurs made when he walked; the way the light made his silver pauldron shine; and even the slow way he breathed.  

When the man in the black robe would lift me up to reach the books, he’d say in his raspy voice, “Don’t only choose science books. Some of the history books might have sweets behind them.” The man in the blue robe never let me stand close to him. I didn’t think he liked me. His silver eyes looked sad, sometimes mad, through his mask eyepieces. Every time I stared at him, he squeezed something in his pocket. It must’ve been sharp, because afterward his pocket would have blood on it. 

Then one day I left the room forever.  

I’d been drawing a picture of a beast for Ghost when the door opened. I was so afraid, I dropped my pencil. The man with the silver eyes picked me up and carried me down a passage for a long time. He didn’t talk to me or look at me, only held me in one arm, and kept the other one behind his back. I tried tickling his chin, but he didn’t smile. He had a big black Mohawk on his head and I touched it to see if it was sharp. It was poky and soft. When he didn’t talk to me, I told him about my friend Ghost. He stayed quiet. I fell asleep on his shoulder.  

When I woke up, he was setting me down before a metal transport. I’d seen a picture of one in a book and knew the guns on the side were dangerous. The door in the transport opened and I moved back when a young man with short black hair came out, smiling at me. He was handsome like the highborns in the books I read, but his brown eyes were slanted funny, and he didn’t wear armor. He crouched in front of me, and said, “I’ve waited to meet you a long time, Snofrid. My name is Ryuki Yagami and I’m going to take you to a new home.”  

I was afraid and hid behind the silver-eyed man’s leg. No one had ever spoken to me before—except for the raspy-voiced man behind the wall, who taught me about Inborn etiquette, and how to read and speak English. I didn’t want to go to a new home. I liked my room. I liked my books and my flower chest, and I didn’t want to leave Ghost. The silver-eyed man picked me up and put me inside the transport. Then, for the very first time, he talked to me, and said, “Daringly dared, half of it won, Snofrid.”  

I didn’t know what these words meant. I wanted to ask him, but he’d already put his back to me was talking to Ryuki in a language I didn’t understand. 

There was a little boy with golden brown eyes sitting in the back seat eating dried leaves. It was the first time I’d seen a person as small as me before. I wanted him to like me, but I was too afraid to sit close to him, so after I greeted him, I sat behind him. He stared over his seat with wide eyes, and said, “Stone me! You look just like my aunt Lorna.” His voice was loud, and I didn’t know how to answer, so I just nodded. The boy talked a lot more after that and I listened. He told me his name was Desya, and that we were going to live in a place called Hollowstone City, and that Ryuki was a good dad, and that we’d never have to be afraid with him, even though we were shamed. I didn’t know what he was talking about really, but after a while, I started saying things back. 

We drove through the passage for a long, long time. When I first saw the sunlight, it happened so fast that I screamed. It was the brightest light I’d ever seen. It was brighter than all my candles and lamps, and it burned my eyes. Desya gave me a pair of black goggles. As soon as I put them on, I was able to see the mountains, the trees, and the flowers. I thought of Ghost right away and was sad I couldn’t tell it how happy I was.


About T.S. Pettibone:

T.S. Pettibone is the pen name of identical twins, Brittany and Nicole Pettibone. They were born in California, grew up in Kansas, and these days, live and write in California. On the rare occasion that they break from writing, they enjoy being outdoors, taking their dog on night walks, reading the classics, drinking too much coffee, traveling the world, making friends out of strangers and learning new things—especially when these things are in any way related to architecture, foreign languages and cultures, cars, motorcycles, weapons and martial arts.

Website: http://tspettibone.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tspettibone

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/tspettibone/

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/tspettibone/

Tumblr: http://tspettibone.tumblr.com
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Book Tour: The Colony by @KathleenGroger + #GIVEAWAY #freebook


The Colony

Author: Kathleen Groger
Publisher: Leaf & Thorn Press
Published: March 31st, 2016
Pages: 292
Audience: YA
Genre: Science Fiction, Aliens

Source: I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

Trust no one.

Never go out in the dark.

Always have a weapon.


Sixteen-year-old Val lives by these three rules etched on her arm. Her rules and her gun are the only things standing between her and assimilation by hordes of human-looking aliens she calls Raspers.

By day, Val gathers supplies. By night, she hides and wishes she could go back in time…before her family died…before the annihilation…before the Raspers began stalking her and demanding she join their collective.

But when the Raspers attack in broad daylight, the truth becomes startlingly clear. 

They’re evolving.

A fellow survivor crashes into Val’s life. Adam’s full of charm and promises—like rumors of a safe haven—but there’s something wrong. He’s survived with no supplies, no weapons…no plans. Time is running out. With the formula for survival shifting around her, Val must decide how many rules she’s willing to break to escape the Colony.


My Review:

Due to an unforeseen technical difficulty, I have lost my file of written reviews. So I have no notes to go on and cannot give you an in-depth review with quotes and gifs like I usually do. For today, since The Colony is a part of a book tour, I will give my general thoughts and later post my full review on Goodreads and Amazon (and will update this post).  

I'm so sorry Kathleen Groger!! 

The Colony is a fast paced - action packed thrill ride. There was another review that stated that the show reminded them of a Walking Dead & the short-aired show "V". 

When I saw that I literally screamed "YAAAASSSS!" That is the perfect description for it, except the main character - Val - is a sixteen-year-old girl with a very strict rule book for surviving the alien invasion.

This book kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved the characters and world - both of which felt natural. The plot was fantastic and I cannot wait to get my hands on the second book.



About Kathleen Groger:

Kathleen wrote her first story in elementary school about a pegasus named Sir Lancelot. It had no plot or conflict, but it sparked a dream. After serving a fifteen-year sentence in retail management, the bulk in big box bookstores, she turned her love of reading into a full-time career writing dark and haunting characters and stories. She writes paranormal, fantasy, suspense, horror YA books.

She lives by the mantra that a day is not complete without tea. Lots of tea. Kathleen lives in Ohio with her husband, two boys, and two attention-demanding dogs. When not writing or editing or revising, you can find her reading, cooking, spending time with her family, or photographing abandoned buildings.


Book Tour & Review: Daughter of the Sun by @zoekalowriter + #GIVEAWAY


Daughter of the Sun

Author: Zoe Kalo
Publisher: Zoe Kalo
Published: April 1st, 2016
Pages: 330
Audience: YA
Genre: Mythology, Paranormal & Urban

Source: I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew. 
But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities. 
Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.


My Review:

Daughter of the Sun brings Egyptian mythology to the modern world. If you read my previous reviews, you’d know that I’m a bit of a fan when it comes to modern mythology re-imaginings. So when I had the chance to pick up a book offering me not only that, but also a promise of a mystery – I was SOLD!

“I happen to share DaVinci’s opinion that cats are the masterpieces of nature.” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

The story started off interesting. We are introduced to Trinity who is an orphan in London. The circumstances behind Trinity’s abandonment and the whole mystery grandmother to come out of nowhere was extremely interesting, but then the book began to stall for me. It was like that for a while until the mystery really picked back up.

There were some smaller “mysteries” that were a bit obvious to me, but that didn’t negate from the excitement of the story. At times Kalo had be fully engaged in the plot. A plot that was basically this in a nutshell:

“Why couldn’t I shake the feeling that there was something darker at work, that, unknown to me, I was taking part in someone else’s play?” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

Trinity wasn’t a character I connected with. I didn’t really care about her, but I cared for her story. I wanted to know everything. Why she was abandoned? Why were mysterious things happening to her body? What did this all have to do with the Cult of the Cat? WHAT WAS WRITTEN ON THAT PAPYRUS? (as you can tell that didn’t bug me – at all)

Seth and Ara were characters I truly enjoyed. Both had more depth to me and seemed more of an actual character than Trinity. The dynamics between all the characters were spot on and Kalo’s descriptions of a girl who’s completely infatuated were hilariously spot-on:

 “But my eyes were listening to me. They kept straying like naughty, disobedient street urchins.” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

I especially liked this simple quote about young love. It really rung true with my own strict upbringing:

“No wonder the nuns had been so admonishing about what could happen between boys and girls. This was powerful stuff.” – Daughter of the Sun, Zoe Kalo

If you are a fan of Egyptian mythology, crazy cat ladies, mysteries galore, old family curses, breaking & entering, and an ancient papyrus with a hard-to-translate script – all of this on a mysterious island right off the coast of Istanbul (not Constantinople) – than Daughter of the Sun is the book for you.



About Zoe Kalo:

A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery… 

A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.


Book Tour & Review: Demigods and Monsters by @RayeWagner + #GIVEAWAY


Curse of the Sphinx


Series: Sphinx #2
Author: Raye Wagner
Published: April 25th, 2016
Pages: 273
Audience: YA
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology 


Source: YA Bound Book Tours - I received this book for free from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review.


Blurb:

Can Apollo’s curse be broken?

Seventeen-year-old Hope Nicholas is done running. Apollo’s curse has ruled her entire life, limiting her choices and robbing her of the things that matter most. But she refuses to live in fear any longer. In fact, she’s ready to do whatever it takes to break the god’s power over her existence. 

When the goddess Artemis instructs Hope to impersonate a demigod and infiltrate a conservatory to get access to the Olympian library, she doesn’t hesitate. As she sees it, there’s nothing left to lose. 

But once inside, Hope discovers the only way to get what she needs is to work with her sworn enemies. As the lines between demigod and monster are crossed again and again, Hope has to dig deep for the courage to accept her fate or fight for the freedom to save herself.

Demigods and Monsters is the second book in the Sphinx series.


My Review:

You may remember me reviewing a book called Curse of the Sphinx a while ago where I exclaimed: Myths. Gods. Monsters. EMOTIONS!

I had the honor of being able to review the second book in the Sphinx series – Demigods and Monsters and boy, it did not disappoint.

“Hope wasn’t going to be a pawn for the gods. But she wasn’t above asking for a little help either.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

Again, we enter Hope’s world – where the stories of Greeks gods are more than just myth. They’re fact. And hope is living in this world as a human who changes into a monster two days a month. This curse – brought upon Hopes ancestors by Apollo – has taken everything from her. Her mother. Her sense of safety. Her ability to choose who she wants to love.

Hope is a wonderful protag. Her though processes and emotional responses to others and the various situations she finds herself in is refreshingly mature, but also appropriate for a 17-year-old.

“If patience was a virtue, Hope was a serious detriment to the moral fiber of society.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

Wagner again blew me away with her story-telling and vibrancy in description:

“Desperation made a foolish companion, and he wore his recklessness like a heavy cord, tangling his intuition and instinct into a messy knot.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

Her knack for describing emotional conflict is spot on:

“The words fell to the floor, the insincerity bouncing off the ground and pelting Hope from every direction.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

Demigod’s and Monsters picks up exactly where Curse left off. Hope has fled back to Seattle with Priska without letting any of her friends know. She’s on a mission this time to break the curse of Apollo and live her life in relative safety – as safe as she can be for a monster.

There were new characters introduced and a good chunk of backstory for them and Athan. These new characters were all amazingly written. As the title suggests, most of the characters were Demigods and Monsters – giving Hope a deeper insight to their world. Through her interactions with these characters she learns that not all Demigods are eager to murder monsters and not all monsters are good or safe.

“Hope looked down his longs legs to his bare feet, and the fire licked at her heart.” – Raye Wagner, Demigods and Monsters

There is a love triangle in this book. I’m usually not a fan because usually the other guy is only thrown in for conflict. I didn’t see Xan as an interloper. Xan’s purpose is to guide Hope through the nuances of conservatory life – taking her under his wing. Even though his feels grew for Hope and her attraction to him changed as well, she never could fully commit. 

Honestly though, the only conflict in love in this story is the fact that Hope is attracted to men who could be/ have been dangerous for her.

If you love mythology brought into the modern world, curses, stalker gods with a nasty temper, FEELINGS, and a girl discovering the world isn’t just black and white – then Demigod’s and Monsters is for you.



About Raye Wagner:

Raye Wagner grew up just outside of Seattle, Washington. As the second of eight children, she was surrounded by chaos, and escaped the mayhem by reading. 
Raye studied the art of medicine long before she had an interest in the Gods on Mount Olympus. 
One sunny afternoon, the history of Apollo’s ancient curse and the myth of the Sphinx dropped into Raye’s consciousness. She started scribbling notes down after her sister convinced her the story was worth writing. 
She writes young adult fiction for teens and adults.
Curse of the Sphinx, a YA urban mythology, is her first novel. Demigods and Monsters, the second book in the Sphinx series, will be released April 2016.


Book Review: Sky Drifter by Paris Singer (@DakuKarasu)

Sky Drifter

Author: Paris Singer
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Published: August 27th, 2015
Pages: 223
Audience: YA
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Exploration

Source: I received a copy of this book from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

Wandering in the vastness of space, is the Sky Drifter; an academy reserved for the best students in the known universe. Seven is just such a student. Gifted in strategy and Sphere, he lives happily on-board with his friends Iris and Pi, taking on his rival, visiting planets for exploration and competition. Everything is the way he likes it, until he sees a mysterious girl in a red coat, who will reveal to him a secret that will bring everything he thought he knew crashing down around him.


My Review:

First of all, look at that cover. BEAUTIFUL!! And absolutely perfect for the book - it truly captures not only the SciFi theme, but the plot as well. WELL DONE!!

Sky Drifter is a prime example of mixing intrigue and action with AMAZING world building. The characters are well-developed, especially Seven – who is extremely likeable and despite his exceptional intelligence and -almost- perfect life. Then a mysterious girl shows up in a red coat and cue plot twists. 

All that being said, I did not care for the writing. It seemed a little juvenile at times and the manuscript desperately needed another round of editing. If the plot, characters, and world wasn’t so AMAZING – I would have put the book down before 20%.

If you liked Ender’s Game, charming characters, mysterious girls, colorful alien planets, schools on spacecraft, deception, and intrigue then Sky Drifter is the book for you.


Book Tour & Review: Starr Valentine by @WendeDikec + #Giveaway


Starr Valentine

Author: Wende Dikec
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
Published: March 26th, 2016
Pages: 176
Audience: YA
Genre: Science Fiction

Source: I received a copy of this book from Bewitching Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:


What happens when the beautiful swan becomes the ugly duckling?

Starr Valentine has a perfect life in Middleton, Ohio. She was named captain of the cheer squad, her mother finally allowed her to get highlights, and the cutest boy in school asked her to homecoming. But everything comes crashing down when she finds out her parents are actually monarchs in exile from a mysterious planet called Vega. Starr doesn’t want to leave, but loves the idea of being a princess, and decides moving to an alien world might not be so bad. When she gets there, however, she discovers that something is terribly wrong.

Starr has always been the winner of the family, but now everyone is fawning over her chubby older sister, Astra. And everyone, even a handsome and annoying young duke named Julian, seems to hate her. That is when she realizes the awful truth. Astra is now the pretty one. Astra has all the friends. Astra gets all of the attention. And Starr Valentine, voted Miss Perfect, is now the ugly duckling. Her biggest fear is…will she be able to turn back into a swan, or is she doomed to be a loser forever?


My Review:

Starr Valentine is your typical popular high school girl. She's beautiful, spoiled, the hottest guy asked her to homecoming - where she expects to be announced Queen. Her sister - Astra - isn't as lucky in the looks department, but she has maturity and kindness in spades. When their mother announces that they are aliens and will be returning to their home planet, Starr is ecstatic. She always knew she was princess and now it will be official, but everything on their home world is not what Starr expected.

Let me give it to you straight... Starr is exactly how the bratty, spoiled girls when I was in school acted. Let me say, it wasn't pleasant to be inside one of their heads. I REALLY didn't like listening to Starr commenting of the fatness of her mother or just how "special" she is. Although, once the story progressed and Starr realizes that she's not the most beautiful person on her home world, Vega, she does have an attitude change that is much needed - it felt like I had to be inside of her head more than I would have liked. 

My absolute favorite aspect of Starr Valentine is the world Wende Dikec created. Vega is imagined to be a wondrous place that I wish I could visit. Her prose and world-building are spot on. (I had to read this on a different device than I usually do, so I don't have examples and quotes for you, but trust me - the writing is amazing!)

I think the moral of the story kind of overlaps the romance - which I actually enjoyed. Julian is a charming love interest. It especially pleased me that he wasn't falling over himself to be with Starr. She had to make a positive change in her life in order to be truly attractive to him. Again... love it!

If you a fan of selfish brats learning valuable lessons, handsome Dukes with a good head on their shoulders, a mother and sister who are beautiful - even when the narrator doesn't think so, alien worlds with vivid imagery, and a smooth writing style that flowed - then Starr Valentine is the book for you. 


Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card to a Newsletter Subscriber, to be awarded June 1, 2016.

Subscribe to Wende’s Newsletter Here:  http://madmimi.com/signups/177092/join


About Wende Dikec:

Wende Dikec has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, and fun. Fluent in several languages and married to a man from Istanbul, Wende is a trekkie, a book hoarder, master of the Nespresso machine, and mother of three boys. A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.


Book Tour: Operation Omen by Taylor Brooke @taysalion + #GIVEAWAY


Operation Omen

Author: Taylor Brooke
Publisher: limitless publishing
Published: January 26th, 2016
Pages: 240
Audience: YA
Genre: Post-apocalyptic, science fiction

Source: I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

After an epidemic spreads through the country, Brooklyn Harper’s high school years come to an abrupt end.

Implanted in a rural camp, Brooklyn and her friends are cut off from their families and the outside world. Each day is filled with combat training to assure their safety against the crazed, belligerent, and deadly— those infected with a mysterious virus.

If the world couldn’t get any crazier, a letter ups the insanity…

After being assured day after day that the world outside their little camp had been compromised, Brooklyn’s cabin-mate, Dawson Winters, finds a letter that turns everything they’d known upside down. There is a world outside the trees that surrounds their camp, and the virus they all feared seems non-existent.

Determined to see it herself, Brooklyn plots with others to attempt an escape…

On the outside, Brooklyn finds the world is as normal as ever. But when they are attacked in the city, they dispose of their attackers far more efficiently than any normal human.. Is there more to Brooklyn and her friends then just being highly trained?

As their exploration continues, the group is faced with impossible feats. Betrayal, love, death, and a powerful sense of camaraderie lead Brooklyn and her friends to fight for their life, their freedom, and most of all, each other.



About Taylor Brooke:

Taylor Brooke is the author of the sci-fi adventure trilogy The Isolation Series. She started out as a freelance makeup artist, and quickly discovered her love of elves, zombies, mermaids, kaiju, and monsters of all kinds. After receiving eight professional certifications in special effects makeup, working on countless projects, and fleshing out a multitude of fantastical creatures, she turned her imagination back to her one true love — books. Taylor has had a knack for writing since she was a little girl, and received recognition for her skills throughout grade school and junior college. When she’s not nestled in a blanket typing away on her laptop, she can be found haunting the local bookstore with a cup of steaming hot tea in her hands, scanning the shelves for new reads, or hiking one of the many mountains that surround her home in Oregon.

Book Tour & Review: The Little Flame Series (1-5) by @melissalummis + #Giveaway


The Little Flame Series

Author: Melissa Lummis
Publisher: PeacePipe Productions
Published: September 30th, 2014
Pages: 495
Audience: New Adult, Adult, 18+
Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy

Source: I received a copy of this book from Bewitching Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

Fiamette Jurato is on a mission: to fix her broken past. She’s teamed up with the world famous DJ, Maximillian, to search for the ex lover who can help her put all the pieces back together. There’s only one problem: he’s been dead for over two hundred years.

As a healer to the supernatural, she’s no stranger to navigating the impossible maze of magical complications. But getting lost in the magic isn’t the problem; finding her way back home is. 


My Review:

This book series is for 18+ due to graphic sexual scenes. If that is not your scene then you should probably move on.

Every now and then I run across a book (or in this case a series) that is a great mix of storytelling and character development that is neatly wrapped in a lighthearted package. The Little Flame Series, books 1-5 are exactly that.

In the Little Flame world, paranormals live side-by-side with humans in what I gathered was modern America in relative peace. The series is centered on Fiamette or Fia. She is a healer - a supe with preternatural abilities allowing her to see the Qi, the physical life force, of the universe and be able to channel it - or so she thinks. Her healing abilities are different and much stronger than other healers and then there is how she has to “feed” – not to mention who she has to feed from - in order to refuel her energy reserves.

“Sometimes, the best way – the safe way – to hunt was allow oneself to be hunted.” – Little Flame Series Box Set, Melissa Lummis

This world is fantastic. From the way the supes are organized to how Lummis integrated them into our human world – everything blended and worked within this universe. Over the five books in this box set, you discover a little more with each story that adds to the overall plot. Within there are subplots that not only add depth to characters, but give you more perspective on the world Fia lives in and the emotional and physical conflicts between all the characters.

“She sounded like the young, insecure girl she was – a lovely girl who didn’t know if she was enough. My stomach felt an old, familiar pang.” – Little Flame Series Box Set, Melissa Lummis

Fia is a great main character. Lummis did an amazing job making her relatable and complex. I felt like she was every bit her “age” with her inner musings like the quote above. I adored that Fia’s strength came from her intense devotion to those around her – especially those she loves. Her inner monologue is both hilarious and endearing – particularly there were a few times I laughed when she was being intimate.

“I felt like a safe being unlocked on click of the tumblers at a time. Five to the left. Twenty-three to the right. Nine to the left. Oh – I came undone in a bright wave of pleasure.” – Little Flame Series Box Set, Melissa Lummis

Although I love how she described the sensation above, it made me chuckle. Not sure why – it’s probably just me.

Speaking of the writing, I enjoyed how Lummis weaves lighthearted humor throughout each story and when she introduces complex situations and heavy emotional scenes, Lummis can turn on the depth.

 “I didn’t want to be without his skin that smelled like ancient forests warmed in the summer sun.” – Little Flame Series Box Set, Melissa Lummis

The Little Flame series is one of the few books that I read where the main character breaks the fourth wall. Sometimes it works and other’s it seems out of place. In this series it was the latter. Every time Fia would address the reader it seemed a bit sudden and rude - which isn’t Fia’s personality at all. I’m sure Lummis was going for sassy – which is exactly Fia’s character, but it didn’t come off that way to me.

“Most healers sensed it through intuition, thus the third eye association. Chakra theory. Look it up.” – Little Flame Series Box Set, Melissa Lummis

Max is an interesting love interest. He’s a DJ and surrounds himself with interesting supes. Fia and Max run into each other while she was working as a dancer for one of his shows. They hit it off, but Fia struggles with her succubus nature and her feelings for Max. Their relationship is natural and progresses in a way that is believable regarding the subplots and background that is uncovered throughout the series. Although, I feel that – at times – Max is a little bland compared to the sassy Fia, they are a good fit.

“In that simple act of comfort, I discovered that unconditional acceptant and, dare I say, love were real. I squeezed him tighter, and he chuckled.” – Little Flame Series Box Set, Melissa Lummis

There is a pseudo-love triangle. It’s not your typical “who do I pick” type of situation, instead it’s brings more complications and brings plenty of realistic drama to Fia’s life. It doesn’t truly develop until later in the series when Fia’s emotions for Max become actualized.

There are so many other characters in this series that are equally amazing in their own right. Each side character is just as developed as the main ones with intricate backstories and their own plot lines that do add to the overall plot. There isn’t a single character that I didn’t like and that’s including the antagonists. Not that I liked their antagonizing, but their characters were spot on.

“How did he do this to me? How did he steal the sulk and self-pity right out of me and replace it with this lightness?” – Little Flame Series Box Set, Melissa Lummis

Overall, if you’re looking for a series that is fun, full of magical vengeance, steamy love scenes, supernaturals around every turn, antics galore, and a female lead who finds herself in hilarious situations – The Little Flame Series is for you.



Melissa Lummis writes new age suspense in a fantasy setting, but her stories are also straight up, steamy adult romance. The Love and Light Series is currently available at Amazon exclusively, as well as the Little Flame Series, a spin off focusing on the character Fiamette from the Love and Light world.

 

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Melissa considers herself a truth seeker and a peaceful warrior, in addition to a paranormal and fantasy author. With too many interests for her own good, she has rarely been content with one vocation. Her first professional life was as a high school English teacher, which led to another incarnation as a wife and an instructional designer /technical writer. After starting a family, she found herself reincarnated yet again as a mother, yoga instructor, and personal trainer.

While all her past lives have contributed to who she is today, yoga has become a part of how she gives back, maintaining her Registered Yoga Teacher status with Yoga Alliance so she can help people one-on-one to overcome physical limitations and heal themselves. But she has always been and always will be a writer. She’s authored dozens of wellness articles for various publications, as well as maintains a blog focusing on wellness, healing, and living a life on purpose.

A Yankee by birth and a Penn State graduate, she lives in rural Virginia with her husband, two children, an Alaskan Malamute, and a myriad of forest creatures. Melissa believes the universe conspires to help an adventurer, and if we live our lives as if it is a daring escapade (and it is!), then everything we need will find its way to us.