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!

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 & 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 Tour: Never Stop Falling by Ashley Drew @ashleydrew88_ + #GIVEAWAY


Never Stop Falling

Author: Ashley Drew
Publisher: Ashley Drew
Published: March 1st, 2016
Pages: 288
Audience: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary, College

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


Blurb:

She didn’t expect to fall for her best friend.
He was always waiting to catch her.

Corinne Bennett lives in the moment. Whether she’s skydiving out of an airplane, or setting off on the road to anywhere, she’s ready to dive into the next adventure. That is, if best friend and always-by-the-book Nicholas Kelley doesn’t put his foot down on her wild stunts first.

When Corinne gives in to her growing feelings for Nicholas the summer before their freshman year of college, she takes the ultimate risk, making this one adventure he has longed to explore with her.

But the moment they take that irrevocable leap, a shocking revelation blindsides Corinne, exposing her vulnerabilities, baring her fears, and shattering her beliefs about love. With their future—and most importantly, their friendship—now clouded in doubt, she must decide if love is really worth the risk.

Because when it comes to love, you never stop falling.


Excerpt:

“Tell me what you find so funny? What’s going on in that cute little head of yours?”

Fucking-A. Did I really just say that? A Freudian slip? So I said the word cute. Big deal, right? That word could have multiple meanings other than in a flirtatious context, and I’m not flirting with her, at least not on purpose.

Cori’s laughter never wavers in spite of me backing myself into a corner with my word choice. Maybe she didn’t hear it. Maybe she doesn’t want to think that she heard it. Or maybe she doesn’t want to make the situation awkward for either of us, so she pretends like it’s the most casual thing in the world. I think she and I both know that surely isn’t the case.

Once the laughter subsides, she takes a look over the guardrail, surveying the drop to the beach. I’ve seen that look in her eyes multiple times before. It’s the same look she had before she convinced me to trespass and investigate the farmhouse up on the hill near our houses, the one rumored to be crawling with ghosts. It’s also the look she had before she got Braiden and me to jump out of an airplane with her.

“I know that look,” I recognize, watching every calculating move of hers. “Please tell me you’re not thinking what I think you’re thinking.”

She turns her head in my direction, a Grinch-like smile spreading devilishly across her face. “Of course I am. You want your money shot? We’re gonna go get it.”

She begins to walk in the opposite direction of the Jeep when I tug at her elbow, halting her to a stop. “Hell no. Not happening. Can’t do it.”

“Says who?”

“Says that sign over there saying it’s completely illegal to go down to the beach. Plus, it doesn’t look safe at all, and I’m not going to let you leave here with a broken ankle or leg.”

I would never admit it out loud because I’d look like a pansy, but chances are, I’d be the one leaving here with the broken something, and Cori sees right through my assumption.

“Well, that’s rather sexist,” she smirks, crossing her arms. “For all we know, you could leave here with the broken leg.”

“No one is going to leave here with anything broken, because we’re not doing it.”

I’d like to say that putting my foot down on Cori’s crazy antics in the past had been pretty effective, but I’d be lying. What normally started off as me putting my foot down usually ended up with me and my foot in my mouth because I’d often end up going along with whatever she wanted to do. But not today. The climb down would be too dangerous. Plus, it’s getting darker by the minute, so nothing about doing this would be safe. I think she gets it, but it doesn’t mean she won’t stop trying. It is Cori I’m dealing with here.



About Ashley Drew:

A San Francisco Bay Area native, Ashley Drew currently lives in Los Angeles. When she’s not going cross-eyed after writing for five hours straight, or burying her nose in a book, you’ll find her sprawled on her couch watching General Hospital, having alien conspiracy discussions with her husband over a bottle of bubbly, and dancing to Taylor Swift’s 1989 album with her daughter.


Book Review: Revolution by Jessica Frances

Revolution

Author: Jessica Frances
Publisher: Jessica Frances
Published: January 26th, 2016
Pages: 334
Audience: YA
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

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


Blurb:

I was raised in a world where humans no longer rule. 
In the past, we made a terrible mistake by creating a new species we thought would serve us as our army, which led to our downfall. 
There was a war, we lost, and many lives were massacred. It was the end of life as we knew it and the beginning of a hell we were now trapped in. We became enslaved to what we now called Superiors, becoming pets to them, simply there to entertain. 
In a world so miserable, I managed to do the unthinkable: I fell in love. But even that was doomed, because to love a Superior was forbidden.
What the rest of the Superiors didn’t know was how deeply a human could love or how resilient we became when we were hurt.
The Superiors never could have imagined an uprising, which was why they never saw it coming.
Humans deserved to be free, and I would stop at nothing to deliver that promise.
My name is Tilly, and I am still alive with one sole purpose: to begin a revolution.

~

I had been raised to believe humans were worthless. We owned them and controlled them, and when we were done with them, we threw them away. Therefore, I never thought I would ever feel more for Tilly than disinterest. I never expected to want to save her.
It was forbidden for a Superior to love a human. No one had ever crossed that line, but I did. I fell madly in love with her, so it was no surprise how we ended up.
I was raised to be a soldier, and that was what I was always going to be. However, I was not a soldier for the Superiors, not anymore.
I became a soldier for humans, and I would stop at nothing to help them. They deserved to be free, and I would die protecting them.
My name is Johnny, and I am here with one sole purpose: to finish a revolution.


My Review:

In Revolution, we find ourselves in a world where human technology progresses to the point of its own destruction by creating an advanced race of human. These Superiors enslaved humanity – treating them like animals and sometimes less than that. Hope is found when a human girl and a Superior boy fall in love.

I wanted to like this book. Really I did, but it didn’t catch me. Honestly, I almost gave up around 3%, but I decided to push through it. What hung me up the most (other than me not connecting the Tilly) was that there was a lot of repetition – the same thoughts mentioned within the same chapter and throughout the book. It was distracting. I also wasn’t a fan of the writing style it was at times to formal and other’s it just didn’t flow – but that is my issue. Although it started out slow, the story did progress and became interesting enough to capture my attention until the end.

“I have never been much of a crier, used to the abuse and bleak life I have often have to face. However, since I have been down here, my tears have been endless, and suddenly, everything feels like it is too hard.” – Revolution, Jessica Rowse

My favorite aspect of Revolution was the narrative. It is split between the two main characters Tilly and Johnny, but the catch is that you find out rather quickly that Johnny is dead. Johnny’s narrative starts in the past and Tilly’s is present day. The two narratives are woven together well and despite knowing about Johnny’s fate, it didn’t negate from the tension.

Tilly wasn’t a character I clicked with. Did I sympathize with her? Hell yes. Did I root for her? Yes. Did I like her? Not really. I can’t tell you why I didn’t click with her, I just didn’t. She seemed a little too well-rounded for a girl who spent most of her life a slave. Yes, she had Charlotte and Johnny – but the abuse she endured was something I feel would have left her with more pronounced emotional scars.

Johnny’s story was endearing and I loved every single one of his chapters. Watching him struggle with what he was told and what he sees with his own eyes that leads him down the path of loving Tilly was heartwarming.

“I hope my eyes are no longer the blue Tilly mentioned liking earlier. My default appearance was something she liked, and I don’t want to steal that comfort away from her. For some reason, I can’t bear the thought of hurting her while I looked like that.” – Revolution, Jessica Rowse

His past chapters detailing the abuse his father gave not only to Tilly, but to him and his sister were offset by Charlotte – his human-loving, caring sister. Over his chapters, Johnny struggles with discovering his emotions – something that is obvious to us the readers, but not in an annoying way.

I really enjoyed the moral implications of Revolution. How it exaggerates racism to its extremes, exploring what life would be like if the entire human race was subjected to super beings who hated them. This moral that makes the core of Revolution is important – even in its exaggeration – it is something that I feel needs to be written about more. 

Cover Reveal for Shift

Hello Beautiful People!

I'm pleased to share the final cover of The Caelian Cycle in it's beautiful entirety. Seriously! I'm so excited...

Are you ready?

*****

***

*****

You sure?

Isn't it beautiful? I could look at it all day...  which I sorta do since it's my lock-screen wallpaper on my phone. Let me know what you think? 

Reveal: Blurb for Shift

Hello my beauties!

I hope you've enjoyed my book reviews so far. I have one planned for each Friday until mid-April. The review's I've done so far as brought in some extra attention to my blog and social media pages, so I think I'm heading in the right direction with this one.

There isn't much to update on the writing front. Life seems to be leveling out on me, so I should be able to get back to my regular schedule. I may have an concrete release date by the end of the month. So far, it's looking to be around April. :D  Anyway... here's a little something to tide you over. XXXX


Shift, the final book of The Caelian Cycle

Chaos is what rules Sadie’s life. Separation, lies, and an overpowering Talent have pushed her fragile sanity to the breaking point. Without Kian to fall back on, Sadie has to learn that her strength comes from within – as well as from those she loves. Just when Sadie begins to attain some stability, the true nature of her Talent reveals itself, causing her world to shift.

War is on the horizon. Tensions are rising at an exponential pace between the US government and the Caelian citizens of America ever since the exploits of the HPC were exposed. Communities are being torn apart. The United States is on the brink of another civil war. Mistrust, hatred, and fear are the fuel behind the violence plaguing its citizens. Something needs to shift.

Peace is what unites the HCA and the Caelian families who strive for positive change. Some progress is being made, until Miles Koenig reveals his master plan 20 years in the making. Hoping to enact change and unify the nation, Sadie embarks on a dangerous mission not only to stop her grandfather, but to transform the pending war into a revolution for peace.

Everything is going to SHIFT


There you have it. Basically, things are going DOWN. Can't wait to get the cover ready to reveal and hopefully have a firm release date - I know there are at least four of you who are itching for a conclusion. :D

Stay Awesome!


Book Review: The Killer Contract Agency


Title: The Killer Contract Agency

Author: Jessica Samuels

Published Date: November 30th, 2015

Audience: Young Adult

Genre: Science Fiction/ Fantasy/ Paranormal


Blurb from Good Reads:

Salina Sinclair hunts Malians, an alien species that preys on weak teenagers, making them crazy enough to kill themselves. But after being nearly burned alive by one, Salina is contacted by The Killer Contract Agency. Wielding the powers of The Bracelet and with her mentor, Carter, by her side, she exacts her revenge by taking out the Malians responsible for her near death.

But something big is happening with the Agency and operatives are dying. Will she find out what it is before it's too late, or will the Agency be destroyed?


My Review:

This review is going to be short and sweet because it really hurts me to write it. Truly, I’ve been fretting over it for days now. I didn’t want to be the first person to leave a review on this books Good Reads or Amazon links because I wanted the author to have that elated feeling of getting a good review. I remember how it felt with my first book and it is an amazing feeling. I also remember the gut wrenching hurt of getting a one-star review as well.

Just like Jessica Samuels, I am an independent author and like her my success thrives on getting good reviews. However, in order to get them you have to have a quality product and The Killer Contract Agency just wasn’t it.

There wasn’t a thing I liked about this book and that’s saying something because I ALWAYS try to find something positive. The plot was all over the place. The characters were flat and were childish – even the adult characters. The writing was juvenile – full of grammar and spelling mistakes.

“I knew that Laurice was behind it, since she was jealous of me for stupid reason. It was always her, and no one else. No one could hurt me this badly and get away with it, especially not her. I hated her for a reason, and I really wanted her to pay. How could she do this to me?” – The Killer Contract Agency, Jessica Samuels.

That was one of the good examples. When I chose to review this book, nothing about the cover art or blurb really drew me in. I honestly chose it because Jessica Samuels is an indie author who didn’t have any reviews for her book and I wanted to give her a chance. Now, I really wish I hadn’t.

A huge part of me wants to give her two stars, but honestly the second one would really be a pity-star.

I chose to read this book as a part of review tour through YA Bound Book Tours.

YA Bound Book Tours

January: an update

Hello Beautiful People!

Hi! How are ya?

Well... I have been in a bit of a writing slump lately. January is ALWAYS the worst month for me - seriously. Life is overwhelming right now and that is after I have all the other "new year" things to deal with. The beginning of the year has always been full of too much LIFE STUFF that I can never seem to find the time or motivation to do anything besides make sure the kids are being taking care of and well... exist.

However, things have been looking up. There has been a huge re-working of our daily schedules that made me fall behind on my word count goals so sadly, I will probably have to push back SHIFT's release until April 2016

Fear not! All the Tyner's are adjusting and *fingers crossed* everything will be OKAY.

With the extra time until SHIFT's release, I have some cool things planned that will (hopefully) pump everybody up. Those things are Shh-Shh-Secrete-Quite. However I can tell you that in the next few weeks, I will be able to get the blurb (maybe have the playlist ready) and have a cover reveal for SHIFT - so that's awesome.

Finally, I decided to host a few book tours on the site. Not a whole bunch because ain't nobody got time for that. I've been considering this for a while because I want to help promote other self-published authors and to be transparent - the traffic to my site wouldn't hurt. Also, I'd like to read and review the books that interest me.

Love you guys! Here's to February 2016 arriving with it's 29 days of getting my life back in order. I CAN DO THIS!

Stay Awesome!!!

 

2015: A Year in Review

Hello Beauties!

This year has been crazy. There have been blissful highs and some craptastic lows, but if I had to give 2015 a label it would be: BEGINNINGS. There had been more than a fair share of drama this past year (which for an introvert is like THE WORST). HOWEVER, other than having a house that wouldn’t stop breaking, raising/homeschooling an emotional 4-year-old and his “needs an anger management therapist” 2-year-old sister, and enough external family issues that Jerry would probably book us for a few episodes… There was one constant through it all:

My writing. 2015 has been the year of writing for me and that is the biggest and most satisfying beginning of 2015. I finally realized my dream! 2015 is the first year since I started writing that I said to myself “I WILL PUBLISH”.  

Publishing Lost has been one of my greatest accomplishments and it has also been a huge learning experience. Never would I have ever expected the amount of work outside actual writing there would be. Marketing has been a thorn in my side, but I have eventually navigated the waters and overcame an almost crippling fear of putting myself out there. (Mind you this is all online – talk to me about my books in person and I’ll clam up and blush fire)!

2015 has been the year of:

  •          131,000 words written
  •          432 book related emails
  •          180ish new followers on Twitter & Facebook
  •          104 novels read
  •          33 Blog posts – which is more than I have EVER written
  •          5 solid NEW ideas for upcoming novels
  •                3 finished books
  •                1 W.I.P.
  •         0 sanity - which I'm considering an accomplishment

2015, on a personal front:

  •        Two healthy, intelligent children who grow every day
  •        A husband who continues to be supportive and amazing
  •        3 family camping trips
  •        A newly acquired camper which will allow us the ability to do more in 2016
  •        Sadly, less time and motivation for the gym.

Overall, 2015 has been a success (although I really need to take time for fitness again). The week after Christmas is the time to look back on our accomplishments and take that momentum to push further in the following year.

May 2016 be the best year yet! 

Stay Awesome in 2016!!!


Cover Reveal: Redeem, The Caelian Cycle #2.5


Hello Beautiful People!

I have been waiting for weeks to share this cover with you and I'm so exited to get it out there. If you haven't guessed or read the blurb yet, this novella is from Kian's point-of-view and it's set before Lost. I wrote this novella because there are events that happen in the third novel, Shift, that needed some background. Plus, I felt Kian needed a bit more explanation of his actions in Lost and, personally, I wanted the readers to understand why he is who he is. 

Redeem ripped some hard emotions out of me and I feel it came across in the story and although I haven't finished Shift yet, Redeem has been one of my favorite stories I have ever written.

So here it is people, Redeem:

It took me FOREVER to find a male model that even remotely looked like Kian does in my head and then it took EVEN LONGER to find one that was wearing clothes. LOL!!!

It took me FOREVER to find a male model that even remotely looked like Kian does in my head and then it took EVEN LONGER to find one that was wearing clothes. LOL!!!

Redeem - A Caelian Cycle Novella #2.5

A boy without a voice.

A teen without a home.

A man without hope.

Kian knows the way his life is headed will be the death of him. It doesn’t matter how many criminals he catches for Gordon's Bounty Detective Agency or how deep he tries to fall into the bottle – those eyes haunt him. All it took was one whisper of bad advice, one wrong choice, one mistake, to wipe out years of confidence he had struggled to build while living on his Grandmother’s farm. Then Kian found the box of files overflowing with unsolved crimes. Those cold cases jolted his soul from its vegetative state and awakened his resolve. Kian knew those cases were meant for him to solve, but the last thing he expected to find within a few wrinkled folders was his ultimate redemption.

Release Date: January 18th, 2016

Stay Awesome!


Redeem Playlist

Hello Beautiful People.

Guess what? I have seen the cover for Redeem and it looks fabulous! Kian looks amazing and I can't wait to share it with you guys, but Y'ALL will have to wait until December 28th. I'm doing a cover reveal with YA Bound Book Tours, so check your favorite book blog - it may be featured. 

Redeem doesn't have a firm release date, but I'm hoping to get it to you by January 25th 2016.

But until then, I will leave you with the playlist for Redeem. This list is a bit different than from the other two novels. It has a lot more guitars and deeper lyrics than what I have listened to with Lost or Bound. It is probably because the pro-tag is male in this one, but the songs are definitely a direct result of his issues that differ than Sadie's.  

Redeem - A Caelian Cycle Novella Playlist

  • Jars of Clay -  Loneliness & Alcohol (Jt Daly Remix)
  • Blue October - Bleed Out
  • Red - Darkest Part
  • Matthew and the Atlas - Out of the Darkness
  • The Silent Comedy - Bartholomew
  • Art of Dying - Get Through This
  • We As Human - Bring to Life
  • Beck - Blue Moon
  • Wolf Rider - For You
  • Shinedown - Unity

Stay Awesome!

Redeem Blurb Reveal

Hello beautiful people,

I’ve been a busy little writer last month participating in NaNoWriMo and finished by the seat of my pants at the very end. It was so hard to finish on before the month ended and this time, the reason for my procrastination is Netflix, specifically JESSICA JONES. The husband and I are in so much obsessive love with that show.

Anyway… Since then, I have finished my first round of copy edits and the manuscript is now with my beta readers. The stars are aligning perfectly with my copy editor and cover artists and right now it looks like you guys could get a copy by mid-January. WOOT!

Until then, I will tease your little hearts out. *insert evil laugh* Beginning with the blurb below. Enjoy!


Redeem – A Caelian Cycle Novella

A boy without a voice.

A teen without a home.

A man without hope.

Kian knows the way his life is headed will be the death of him. It doesn’t matter how many criminals he catches for Gordon's Bounty Detective Agency or how deep he tries to fall into the bottle – those eyes haunt him. All it took was one whisper of bad advice, one wrong choice, one mistake, to wipe out years of confidence he had struggled to build while living on his Grandmother’s farm. Then Kian found the box of files overflowing with unsolved crimes. Those cold cases jolted his soul from its vegetative state and awakened his resolve. Kian knew those cases were meant for him to solve, but the last thing he expected to find within a few wrinkled folders was his ultimate redemption.


Stay Awesome!

Giveaway: Last Day + Excerpt

Hello Beautiful People!

Today is the last day to sign up for the Bound giveaway on Goodreads. (There's a link at the bottom of this post to sign up).

Purchase Links

Amazon- http://amzn.to/1hbprvd
B&N - http://bit.ly/1JeqGmV
Kobo - http://bit.ly/1XqKISB
Smashwords - http://bit.ly/1JERQBA
iBooks - http://apple.co/1L9EI7s

 

Bound by Vengeance.
Sadie has found the resolve to fight the man who caused so much pain in her life. Her tentative alliance with the HCA underground gives her the resources to train both her body and Talent for when she comes face to face with her grandfather. 

Bound by Loss.
Being separated from her friends at St Vincent’s is harder than she could have ever realized and it doesn’t help that Kian has withdrawn from her as well. With help from a new friend, Sadie uncovers more about her past and that someone close to her has been keeping secrets from Sadie her entire life. 

Bound by Fear.
Tragedy strikes close to home, giving a longstanding enemy, one desperate and willing to do anything to have Sadie on their side, an opportunity to arise. Allies and friends come together to stand against evil, but at a terrible cost. Sadie’s history and future collide while the world is thrown into chaos. 

Sadie must overcome or forever be Bound.


Excerpt

I sniffled and uncurled my body. “You’re right.” My voice was scratchy from crying, but I was sure my face expressed that I wouldn’t continue this conversation. My response was the only concession I was allowing Kian because I wasn’t ready to go into our old argument. There was too much for me to think about.

“I’m ready to visit my friends.” I stood and stretched out my sore muscles. My eyes caught my reflection in the mirror above my dresser. Greasy strands of white hair were clumped together and hanging lifelessly around my dirt smeared face. It looked as if someone had attempted to wipe my face clean in a hurry, but didn’t get a chance to finish. If the reflection of my face was any indication, I dreaded looking at the rest of my body, but curiosity won.

I looked down and gasped. Partially healed lacerations and yellowing bruises coated my arms at irregular intervals. My white shirt was torn, exposing more of my body than I felt comfortable with, but underneath the slashes were angry red wounds that were mostly healed.

My gaze traveled further down, and at the sight of my leg, my hands covered my mouth in shock. The pant leg was sliced above the knee, cut with scissors, I assumed, due to the clean lines. Pants be dammed, it was the green and purple bruises in the exact shape and size of the chains that Link had worn around his body that drew my attention. A vision of the fight came forward and I remembered the chain he had wrapped around my leg in order to stop me.

“I look…”

“Like you survived a tough fight,” Kian answered for me.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Bound by Donnielle Tyner

Bound

by Donnielle Tyner

Giveaway ends November 19, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Stay AWESOME!

REASONS

Hello Beautiful People!

I've been kept very busy between my oldest starting Kindergarten and my youngest refusing to be re-directed AKA distracted long enough for me to actually do any real teaching, so social networking and blogging have been put at the bottom of my list.

BUT

I have been a busy little writer. My current project: Redeem is almost complete (well the first draft is). Yay for the motivation that is NaNoWriMo!  In case you haven't heard, I decided to write a novella from Kian's perspective before the final Caelian Cycle Novel is released. From the beginning, I played with the idea of writing a novella from one of the other character's perspectives, but never really committed until I started finalizing my outline for Shift (Book 3) and I will admit, some motivational push from a few readers who have questioned Kian's motives throughout the series. 

With every character, I always write a small backstory and personality profile in order for me to make sure that each character is complex and real to the reader. I felt that Kian's backstory really needed to be told before the third book comes out. Both Sadie and Kian have BIG choices to make in the next novel.

There's a lot that goes down in Shift and a good bit of it has to do with Kian and his past with how it relates to Sadie. I felt that so far throughout the Caelian Cycle, Kian has been this presence sorta in the background, but not really because he is a big part of Sadie's life (and the book is from her perspective). But Sadie is also a big part of his life, even before one knew the other existed. In the books, Kian doesn't express much beyond what Sadie pulls out of him and there are BIG reasons for this. There are reasons for his reactions to her in the first book and for his strong reactions to certain choices she makes in the second book. The reasons add up to major plot points in the third book. 

One more time for posterity: REASONS!!!!

Moving on...

So, hang in there people. I am striving to have the novella out ASAP and will not be taking my usual two week break between writing projects in order to get the final book to you as quick as possible. :D

Stay AWESOME!

Inspiration Board - John

Hello Beautiful People!

This week has been full of excitement on the book front. I finalized lots of plans for our Caelian Crew and finally decided on a name for the Kian novella that will be released before the final installation of The Caelian Cycle. 

Writing has been hard on me lately. My family of four live in a pseudo-tiny house. Honestly, it's only 200 square feet bigger than an official tiny home - I think we deserve some credit. In order to make room for some adjustments (ie: we REALLY wanted to start having family meals), I had to move my writing nook in my bedroom. Usually that wouldn't be a big thing, but my daughter - bless her heart - will only nap in my room & she's the lightest sleeper in the history of humanity. 

That leaves me in a pickle since MY time to write is usually limited to nap time. BUT thank the stars for husbands who are SUPER AWESOME. Mr. Tyner has been coming home from work and corralling those munchkins to give me a few spare minutes a day to get some work done.

Hopefully, this will be a short lived hiccup.

Now! Back to the blog title. Today we are looking at:

John

So John is one of my favorite characters. I'm not going to lie, I have mad love for Sadie's entire crew, but John is a special blend of people who I admire for their carefree attitude - an attribute I do not have. 

First, his name - John. It's no surprise to those who know me that I would name this particular character after my crazy baby brother. John (my brother) has always been the one person who comes around and... BAM! I'm in a good mood. He is a joker, a little man-whorish - you know I love you, bro - a fighter, but mostly he's just plain good-natured. My John, works with adolescences with mental illnesses and wants to get his masters degree so he can be a therapist for autistic kids. That takes a special kind of person and I'm so incredibly proud to be his sister. 

Book John is also a mixture of a few ladies in my mommy group - JanMom's. A year ago, I went to a get-together with about 23 of the 190 ladies in our group. We've "known" each other for 5 years by this point, but I had never been in a group situation with any of them before.  Needless to say, I was petrified and I made the mistake of telling the group before catching my flight.

Now, If you ever meet me in real life, I'm reserved and bashful. Eventually, I'll warm up to you and you'd probably wish I'd shut up. But that is not the point of this story. My first day with the group, I had my personal space invaded in many MANY ways. Let's just say that when writing Lost, I think I may have subconsciously put a few things that happened in the book. 

It was probably my psyche's way of dealing with the trauma. :D

Anyway, book John has so much love and life to give that he's an intricate part of Sadie's group. He balances the group - not just with his masculinity, but his carefree nature is what probably keeps that particular group of teenage girls grounded. 

See you again next week! Stay Awesome!


Did You Miss Me?

Hello Beautiful People!

I'm baaaaaack! Our vacation to south Texas was awesome - except the whole rainy part at the end, but it's Texas and weather cannot be predicted. However, I realized two things on this vacation. 1. I really need a DSLR camera. Pictures taken on your phone just don't do the scenery justice and 2. I'm so glad I decided to set my second book series in that area because now I have a legit, tax right-off excuse to go back. Just look at this:

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

This trip came at an awesome time because I REALLY needed a break. I've been working on some final touches on the third and final book of The Caelian Cycle's outline and finished the preliminary's on a Caelian Cycle Novella that will be released before the final book next year. YAY! 

MIND. BLOWN.

I didn't set out to write any novella's, but Kian's story kept begging to be told. (Plus, I know a few fangirls who love themselves some Kian and I aim to please).The novella is from Kian's perspective and WILL NOT contain spoilers to the series (it will have hints though), but will open up some of the mystery to Kian's past and explain some of the weirdo choices he has made throughout the series. 

This week, I will resume my weekly inspirational board posts, finishing my Caelian Crew from Lost. I haven't quite decided if I'm going to do the norms or start on the new characters from Bound to celebrate it's release next Monday. Which reminds me, this is your last week to purchase Lost for $0.99.

As always, STAY AWESOME!