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Review of Strange Alchemy by Gwenda Bond

  • Title: Strange Alchemy
  • Author: Gwenda Bond
  • Publisher: Switch Press
  • Publication Date: August 1, 2017
  • Pages: 322
  • Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Historical, Mystery

Goodreads Synopsis:

Gwenda Bond’s first book Blackwood has been reimagined and brought back to life with new vision. On Roanoke Island, the legend of the Lost Colony—and the 114 colonists who vanished without a trace more than four hundred years ago—still haunts the town. But that’s just a story told for the tourists.

When 114 people suddenly disappear from the island in present day, it seems history is repeating itself—and an unlikely pair of seventeen-year-olds might be the only hope of bringing the missing back. Miranda Blackwood, a member of one of island’s most infamous families, and Grant Rawling, the sherrif’s son, who has demons and secrets of his own, find themselves at the center of the mystery.

As the unlikely pair works to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony, they must dodge everyone from the authorities to long-dead alchemists as they race against time to save their family and friends before they too are gone for good.

Goodreads * Amazon

ARC of Strange Alchemy provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

It might be just me but the first part of Strange Alchemy fell a little flat for me. It wasn’t that there wasn’t enough going on it was just a little hard to get into at first. But that all changed about half way through the book.

The concept of Roanoke Island and the lost colonists was so interesting to me. A mass disappearance, and a long ago legend, how could it not be interesting. Than you add in alchemists and  the personal infliction’s of Grant and Miranda, and it just gets better. This book had so many twists and turns I never could guess which way it was going, and it did not fail to deliver at the end. The characters were great as well.

Miranda is tormented and misunderstood by every in town but doesn’t let it get her down. At least not a lot anyways. She just pushes through it and refuses to be a “silly girl”. I loved her wit and how even in tough times she still could dish it back out. Grant was misunderstood as well. He was made to seem like the bad boy who got in a lot of trouble but in reality it was so kind and had a reason for doing the things he did. I loved how caring he was how, just like Miranda, he didn’t bite his tongue in tough situations.

Even with this book having a flat or slow start for me, it truly is a good read. The concept, the characters, the twists, it was really great. The only complaint I have is that in order for the story to have been wrapped up in the perfect little package withe a bow, I needed just one question answered. What was the deal with the ghost ship? I felt like it just could have been explained more.

Again, other than that though I was extremely pleased with the ending. I feel this book will captivate both young adults and adults a like. So give it a shot, don’t let me slow start stop you. I’m glad I didn’t let it stop me because Strange Alchemy was a great book, with so much mysticism.

 

 

 

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The Librarian Book Blitz

 

The Librarian by Christy Sloat
Genre: YA Historical/Romance
Published June 17th, 2017
Published by CHBB Publishing
He’s from 1892 England, she’s in a small library in 2017. And that’s just the start of their troubles.
Emme never meant to stay in Maine. She’d come only to find a librarian for her Gram’s library, a custodian for the collection of mysterious books she’d promised to protect. On a dark, wintery night, alone in the library, she takes her first glance into one of the antique novels and finds herself transported to 1892 England staring into the eyes of handsome and dashing hero Jack Ridgewell. As each chapter passes she learns you can truly fall in love with a character in a book, that book boyfriends are real and Emme must choose between the real world, and his.
When the last page is read he’s gone and Emme feels the cold loneliness of lost love. Will she find Jack again, or will their love be forever lost? The answer lies within the pages…
About the Author:

Christy Sloat is a SoCal born girl who resides in New Jersey currently with her husband, two daughters and Sophie her Chihuahua. Christy has embraced the love of reading and writing since her youth and was inspired by her grandmother’s loving support. Christy passes that love of reading, writing, and creativity to her daughters, family, and friends. When you do not find Christy within the pages of a book you can find her being mommy, wife, crafter, and dear friend. She loves adventurous journeys with her friends and can be known to get lost inside a bookstore. Be sure to venture into her Past Lives Series, The Visitor’s Series, and watch for many more exciting things to come.
Check out her website www.christysloat.com
Instagram http://instagram.com/authorchristysloat_writes

Blog http://christysloat.blogspot.com/, Facebook: Christy Sloat Author www.facebook.com/christysloatauthor. Twitter: ChristySloat

Read below for an excerpt from the book:

I spent the rest of the day filing paperwork for the funding process and preparing to open the library doors on Monday morning. I told Rose and Becca to spread the word. Tarryn had decided to move her smaller items in already, and she was asleep by nine the same night. It didn’t seem strange to me that I had a roommate; instead it made me feel comfortable. I never lived alone before, and I would feel lonely otherwise. Tarryn was quiet, but I knew in time she’d get used to me and I’d get used to her. We just needed to get to know each other first.
Once I was done with the paperwork, I filed the books that were left on the shelf from when Gram was still here. As I placed the classic books on the correct shelves, I felt a longing to finish reading my mysterious book in my nook.
So, instead of going to bed at a decent hour, I climbed into my cozy space and picked the book back up. I didn’t open it right away. Instead I inspected the outside for any sort of title. I found nothing of the sort. I flipped to the title page once more, trying to find my place, and that’s when I saw the word on the page. It was just a simple “The” typed out on the once blank title page. I ran my finger across it and realized it was printed in ink as if the press had done it. I was sure the night before it was blank, but then again, I was sure my dream about being with a man was real. So I wasn’t really a reliable source at the moment.
I found the spot where I ended with a dog-eared page. I absolutely hated doing this to the book and didn’t remember it at all. I usually had a nice bookmark, but this seemed to be the only thing to mark the page before I had fallen asleep. Running my fingers across the crease at the corner of the page, I settled back and started reading.
I woke up once again face down, this time I was in grass. I blinked my eyes and felt the blades of grass tickling my nose and lips. I pulled myself up and took a deep breath. I looked around and saw the fields upon which I had dreamt of the night before. I was back in England. I was dreaming the same dream. How odd.
There were times when I had thought I had the same dream over and over again, to only find out that it was my mind playing tricks on me. This was no mistake. I was, once again, in the same place.
“Emmeline, are you all right?” I looked up and blocked the sun from my eyes. The man from before was standing in front of me. “You … you disappeared. It happened so fast that I fear I cannot explain to you how it happened. Now you’re here once again.” He sounded really confused and, to put it lightly, so was I.
This dream felt way too real. It was exactly like before. So real and tangible that I couldn’t explain it even if I tried.
“I … I don’t know how I’m here again,” I mumbled.
He reached out to steady me as I swayed to the side. “You’ve been gone for days. I worried I was going mad, that your presence was one of my imaginings. I dared not to speak a word to anyone about it. I have to admit, Emmeline, I’ve been going slightly crazed since I saw you last.”
His hair was disheveled and he had grown a slight beard that only enhanced the sexiness of his strong jawline. His deep set blue-green eyes looked weary, and for that I felt awful.
My sudden disappearance had made him fall apart, that was apparent.
“I’ll tell you, I feel like I’m going crazy too. Trust me,” I admitted. “Can we sit somewhere? Out of the sun?”
“Of course.”
He held my arm and led me to a tree in the center of the field. Once underneath the large tree, I felt instantly better. I looked down at my clothes and saw that I was, once again, in my own clothes. This time a little better than before. I was wearing yoga pants and an old T-shirt.
“I can’t explain how or why I’m here. Hell, I don’t even know your name, but I’m here again and I’m beginning to think that this isn’t a dream. That I’m really here, with you,” I said as I touched his arm. “I’m not from … here.”
I didn’t know how to explain it to him, but I did the best any girl who was somehow traveling through time could. I didn’t have answers or explanations, but I had a gut feeling.
“I’m from a different time as you. As you can tell by my lovely clothing, I’m not from 1893.”
He placed his fingers on my lips, stopping me, while shaking his head.
“This isn’t right, Emmeline. Trickery at a time like this isn’t fair,” he said as he stood up fast. “I am leaving soon. I shall not have you doing this to me.”
My mouth fell open in shock and I stood. “Do something to you? Listen here, buddy, I didn’t ask for this. I sat down to read a book and then boom, I’m stuck in England with a stranger.”
I pointed at myself. “Look at me. Do I really look like I belong here?”
He looked at my clothing and up to my hair, and I could see his cheeks redden.
“You are dressed very indecent, I suppose. No woman I’ve ever met wears trousers. Nor do they wear clothing that fitting.”
I laughed. He thought this was indecent, he should see some of the dresses I had worn to parties. They were nothing like the dresses he was used to seeing on a woman. We absolutely didn’t dress ladylike anymore. My sexy little black dress that currently hung in my closet would definitely shock some of the people of this era for sure.
“I don’t know why I’m here. I’m absolutely not trying to, I don’t know, hurt you or anything. I don’t know how to go home.” I slumped back against the tree. “I wish that I could prove to you that I’m not lying to you, but I cannot. You’ll have to just believe me, I guess.” It was as simple as that. He could either believe this bat-shit crazy explanation or not. One way or another, I didn’t care. I just wanted to go home.
“I don’t know why, Emmeline, but I feel as if I should say that I do believe you.” He ran a hand through his thick hair, mussing it up. “I just don’t know how else to explain your abrupt presence. One minute you are here and the next you’re disappearing into thin air. I read many books on fiction, so I suppose it could be true.”
“Well, I may know someone who knows something. She works for the lucky bastard that owns that house,” I told him pointing to the house where Nancy was the last time I saw her. She was probably cooking something again for her master.
He smiled. “That house?”
“Yes. Her name is Nancy.”
“Ah. Nancy. And who is this Nancy woman you speak of?” He continued to smile as if this was a joke, but I ignored it.
“She’s a cook. I met her on my last visit here,” I explained. “She’s not the nicest person I’ve ever met, but I think she has some answers.”
“I must argue that Miss Nancy is more than a cook. She’s also the lady upon with which I trust my household while I’m gone. She’s more of an aunt than a housekeeper,” he said as he took my hand in his. “It’s very nice to finally introduce myself to you, Emmeline Bailey. I’m Jack Ridgewell or you may just call me the lucky bastard.”

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Review of Resilient by Gillian Archer

  • Title: Resilient
  • Author: Gillian Archer
  • Publisher: Loveswept
  • Publication Date: July 11, 2017
  • Pages: 233
  • Series: True Brothers MC #3
  • Genre: Romance, Erotica

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Every loner needs a family—and a heart to call home. The bad-boy bikers of the True Brothers MC make good as a strong, silent type shows the right woman that he can speak the language of love.

With her lowlife father in prison for manslaughter, Nicole Walker keeps her distance from the biker scene—until she meets the stud running security at her best friend’s wedding. “Tank” is big, mean, and trouble from every direction. Yet Nicole can’t take her eyes off his chiseled body, or deny the pure electricity she feels when he returns her gaze. Guys like Tank are supposed to be a one-way ride to heartbreak. So why, after a scorching night in his bed, does Nicole only want more?

From his tour in the Marines to his sister’s disastrous marriage, Tank has seen the worst that life has to offer. Ever since his father’s death, Tank’s been fiercely protective of his family—and the True Brothers have always had his back. But nothing could prepare him for a woman like Nicole, who’s determined to break down the walls around his heart. When violence strikes, placing Nicole in harm’s way, Tank digs deep to find the courage to keep her safe—and the strength to love without limits.

Goodreads * Amazon

ARC of Resilient provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Not long after starting to read Resilient it became obvious that I was starting a series in the wrong order. After reading the whole book I have now vowed to go back and read the first two.

Resilient was a great edgy love story. Nicole and Tank are total opposites which worked out perfectly. Plus I am a big fan for love stories that start out in a love/hate kind of way. Their bickering was fantastic and had me giggling the whole time. Nicole is hard headed, confident, and maybe a little bitchy sometimes. But it worked for her and once you get to dig deep into who she is you’ll understand her so much better. Tank was a complete and total alpha male with a super sweet side. I honestly thought going into this that he would be more of an ass, but nope. He made a great leading man. Than you have the sexy scenes. Which when the characters are starting out not really liking each other, it makes it so much hotter.

For a romance novel about bikers, Resilient had a lot more twists and turns than I expected. It wasn’t just love and sex, this book actually had an awesome plot that kept me hook. Nicole and Tank each brought their own baggage that made the relationship more interesting. But it was the True Brothers that also had their own baggage and troubles. The whole time I’m trying to figure out who’s starting trouble and could not put a finger on it.  The only thing that I didn’t like was that this book left me with a few questions that weren’t answered.

I truly loved the True Brothers club. Everyone was a family, including the girls. Reading about tough bikers falling in love was a lot better than I thought it would be. I look forward to going back and reading the first two books!

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Monsters Among Us Blitz

Monsters Among Us
Amanda Strong
(Monsters Among Us #3)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: June 26th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

What if the fate of the world lies with the monster—not the hero?

The world is shifting, and Sammy has complete control. But as hidden truths surface, she starts to doubt everyone who is close to her. The Ancients and Kory have been harboring dark secrets, and it could mean war between the Dragon Fae and the Irukas. With the Defenders as her devoted soldiers, Sam must make some difficult decisions. Should she save the world… or save herself?

Blake won’t give up on Sam. He knows he can’t trust Tonbo anymore, or the web of lies he’s been thrown into. If he hopes to save Sam, he must find the real reason Kory created the bug army. Turns out there could be something far worse than bloodthirsty bugs buriedon the islands, and Blake will have to fight his own inner demons if he wants to save those he loves—including Sam.

In a world filled with mistrust and lies, Blake and Sam must unearth the truth and face their own fears and weaknesses. If they don’t, their lives—and the fate of all humanity—will hang in the balance.

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The complete series:

EXCERPT:

Rounding a corner, I flew right into a pair of bright aqua eyes. I knew those eyes, and the recognition felt like a slap to my face. I halted, not just to avoid collision but because of absolute shock.

Impossible. How’s he here?

“Blake,” Mack gasped.

I remained stunned, still hovering inches from his face. Where were all the Defenders? How did he just waltz in? Why wasn’t he bound? I couldn’t process what I was seeing.

Trying to recompose myself in those milliseconds we both remained in a locked gaze, it dawned on me that Jaxon had not rushed his brother. I only heard heavy breathing behind me, and I wanted desperately to turn around to see what Jaxon was doing. Was he preparing for an attack, or was he awaiting my command?

Yet, I couldn’t peel my eyes away from Blake. Those aqua pools pulled me closer, beckoned me nearer even though our faces were mere inches apart. Frustrated, I commanded myself to move. Show some strength. Straighten your back, for heaven’s sake. I’m like a freaking hunchback, practically bowing to him. What’s wrong with me? Back up… now.

I didn’t move. I couldn’t. It was like my bedroom all over again, when I’d found myself moving toward him, longing to be near him against my will. Only this time, it was worse. He was too close, the magnetic pull reinforced by his nearness. I felt helpless against it, which panicked me more.

He didn’t say anything, his eyes raking my face, searching for Sam. But I’m not Sam, I wanted to shout, though I didn’t. I just kept on gazing into his eyes like a dunce.

You’ve got to be joking, Sam. I heard and felt nothing. I know you’re here. You must be, because I’m freaking stuck in place.

Again, there was nothing to betray her presence until I did the unthinkable. I closed the gap and kissed Blake.

I kissed him like my life depended on it, like I couldn’t get enough of his mouth, like he was the only person in the room, never mind the others’ audible gasps. I wrapped my hands around the back of his neck, pulling him to me. Blake seemed just as shocked as I was by my actions. He stiffened at my touch, groaned under my lips, and then, before I could feel remorse, pulled back from me as fast as I’d come at him, untangling himself from my embrace.

There were those eyes again, probing my face, questions forming but not spoken.

 

Author Bio:

Born in Dekalb, Illinois, Amanda Strong has called Utah, Arizona, Hawaii, Virginia, and now New Mexico home. She has loved to spin tales since childhood. It was not uncommon to find her hiding in some random corner, scribbling away in her spiral-bound notebook, with her bright pink glasses. You could say some things have not changed.

Amanda signed with Clean Teen Publishing in the fall of 2013. She is the author of two paranormal, YA series: The Watchers of Men and Monsters Among Us.

The first novel in The Watchers of Men series, The Awakener, debuted in October of 2013. It has been an Amazon number one best seller in three Young Adult categories. Book two, The Holy and The Fallen, released May 12th of 2015. She is currently working on book three, The Watcher’s Mark, releasing spring of 2016.

Hidden Monster released November 4th of 2014, and it finished as a Finalist in the 2014 USA Best Book Award: Young Adult Category. It is book one of a brand-new young adult, sci-fi thriller series called Monsters Among Us.

When Amanda isn’t writing, you can find her chasing her three rambunctious children around the house and spending time with her wonderful and supportive husband. On some occasions, you can still find Amanda with her not-so-pink glasses, hiding in a corner reading her favorite young adult fantasy novels or working out only to blow her diet by eating ice cream. See more at:
www.authoramandastrong.com

Website / Goodreads / Facebok / Twitter

Author Interview

  1. What made you pursue writing? How old were you when you starting writing?

I’ve loved writing my entire life!  I wrote my first complete novel at sixteen, which sits happily in a box, never to see the light of day.  It’s just plain awful!  I took a big break from pursuing my dream of being published as college, marriage, kids, and life happened.  In 2011, thanks to a friend, the writing bug bit me again, and I’ve been obsessed since!

2. Who were your inspirations as a writer? Favorite authors?

There are so many incredible authors who have inspired me over the years!  If I had to pick a few I’d go with John Bellairs, Mary Higgins Clark, Orson Scott Card, Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Cassandra Clare, Stephenie Meyers, J.K. Rowling, Gaston Leroux (Phantom of the Opera).  There are many more!

3.How long does it usually take you to write a book?

I wish I could say three months, but alas, it’s more like six months to a year by the time I start to the time it’s polished and ready to be published.  I need to get faster!  Something I’m working on now 😉

4. Do you have an interesting writing quirk?

I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I have to use a mouse!  I can’t stand using my laptop’s touchpad.  When I write, I prefer to sit at my desk, with a big glass of water and/or cup of herbal tea, a few snacks (sometimes just chocolate).  The other thing about me is, when I’m writing, I get so cold.  It doesn’t matter the temperature in my house, or what season it is.  I end up freezing!  So after a minute or two of typing, I usually end up throwing on a hoodie, wrapping up in a blanket, and cranking up the pellet stove fire behind me.  I have a pair of awesome fuzzy slippers that are more like booties (they go up to my knees).  One day, while cleaning out the closet, my husband was like, “What are these? Can we throw these away?”  I’m like, “No way!  They keep my toes so warm while I write books!”

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Review of Famous By Default by MK Harkins

  • Title: Famous By Default
  • Author: M.K. Harkins
  • Publication date: March 19 2017
  • Pages: 318
  • Genre: Young Adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Jax

Buried,
By my family’s fame.
Dying to escape the limelight,
And finally, I do.

Being raised as a Jayne, I’m under constant scrutiny. The rock band my brothers formed makes it impossible to stay under the radar. Paparazzi, tabloids, rabid fans–you name it and I’ve got it. It all makes me sick. But getting shipped off to crazy Aunt Betty’s house in my senior year of high school isn’t any better. After all, there isn’t a stray kid or pet in the world that my aunt wouldn’t take in.

Then I meet her. She’s cautious, suspicious, and not interested in me at all. But that’s fine by me. Sivan Holt may be beautiful and intelligent, but she’s nothing I’m looking for.

Sivan

Drowning,
In my past.
Struggling to feel settled.
And finally, I do.

Growing up in the foster care system, I longed for a sense of belonging. All I wanted was a place to call home.
At the age of seventeen, I’m finally starting to feel it here. Home.

When he comes along, it unsettles me. I don’t want him to ruin everything we’ve built–everything that matters. Jax Jayne is arrogant, privileged, and I want nothing to do with him. But those green eyes of his keep drawing me in. If I let down my walls, will it be my final undoing?

Goodreads * Amazon

ARC of Famous By Default provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Reading Famous By Default was a surprisingly light and easy read. At first when introduced to Sivan I thought there would be a lot more angst and darkness than there was. In ways it was nice that there wasn’t but at times it might have helped if there were. I enjoyed this book especially the first half. But it could have used more excitement just to pick things up a bit. The story jumped months at a time, and it may have been necessary for the story but felt like those would have been a good time to add to it. I felt like I was constantly waiting for the ball to drop. When one did it just wasn’t the ball I was looking for.

Other than that the characters were great. Sivan wasn’t at all like I was expecting, like I said before, dark and angsty. But she was fiery and helped to provide some of my biggest laughs in the story. Sometimes she frustrated me but for the most part she was great. Jax was awesome as well. He never gave up and was definitely swoon worthy. Mostly it was his caring heart that really blew me away. His family was too funny as well. Aunt Betty was one of the biggest highlights for me. The only way I could think to describe her is as a whirlwind of light and vibrant colors, with the biggest heart you could ever imagine.

The last chapter was the only thing that didn’t sit to well for me. I felt like the story jumped from one extreme to the next with out having enough development in the middle to explain the resolution. It wasn’t that it was bad its just, again, I felt there could have been more.

To sum it up this book is a great read, even with its missed opportunities. The characters pull you in and keep you there. They are the main reason I enjoyed Famous By Default so much. If you are looking for a light, easy, entertaining YA romance to read, then you should check it out.

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Secret Love Blitz

About the Book

Guarding a secret and playing with fire has never been a good combination.

Four years ago, Holly Scallenger embarked on the most difficult journey of her life. As if being a single parent isn’t already stressful enough, Holly also attended med-school, in hopes of helping other pregnant women in a way she wasn’t helped. But things don’t look so good as she has to embark on a new journey – a journey that would take her back to Boston, back to the man who broke her heart and discarded her and her babies.

Sworn to never fall for him again, Holy is put to the test once more when a chance encounter reunites them.
Secret Love is the second novel in the 4Ever series by Isabella White

 

 

About Imperfect Love

Imperfect Love is only $0.99 until the end of the month!

At 24 years old, Holly Scallanger has the perfect life. Everything a girl could want; a beautiful man, a stunning home, as well as being in the midst of preparing for the wedding of her dreams. This all vanishes the night she catches her fiancé, Brandon Morgan, in bed with her worst nightmare, Donna Sinclair, just a week before Holly is set to walk down the aisle.

Attempting to recover from his betrayal, Holly swears off the affections of men in order to pick up the pieces of her crumbling life. Unfortunately, meeting Jake ‘Hooligan’ Peters is not part of her plan. The tall, dark-haired and handsome as hell med student, sweeps Holly away from the pain of her past and reveals to her the bright future that lies ahead. That is, until she falls pregnant just as Jake begins his internship at P&E; his family’s hospital.

Will this love at first sight lead her to the fairytale she has always craved? Or, will she fall victim to a betrayal of the heart yet again?

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The Girl Who Saved Ghosts Cover Reveal

The Girl Who Saved Ghosts
K.C. Tansley
(The Unbelievables, #2)
Publication date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Young Adult

She tried to ignore them. Now she might risk everything to save them.

After a summer spent in a haunted castle—a summer in which she traveled through time to solve a murder mystery—Kat is looking forward to a totally normal senior year at McTernan Academy. Then the ghost of a little girl appears and begs Kat for help, and more unquiet apparitions follow. All of them are terrified by the Dark One, and it soon becomes clear that that this evil force wants Kat dead.

Searching for help, Kat leaves school for the ancestral home she’s only just discovered. Her friend Evan, whose family is joined to her own by an arcane history, accompanies her. With the assistance of her eccentric great aunts and a loyal family ghost, Kat soon learns that she and Evan can only fix the present by traveling into the past.

As Kat and Evan make their way through nineteenth-century Vienna, the Dark One stalks them, and Kat must decide what she’s willing to sacrifice to save a ghost.

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Sequel to:

 

Author Bio:

K.C Tansley lives with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, and three quirky golden retrievers on a hill somewhere in Connecticut. She tends to believe in the unbelievables–spells, ghosts, time travel–and writes about them.

Never one to say no to a road trip, she’s climbed the Great Wall twice, hopped on the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, and danced the night away in the dunes of Cape Hatteras. She loves the ocean and hates the sun, which makes for interesting beach days.

The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is her debut YA time-travel murder mystery novel. As Kourtney Heintz, she also writes award winning cross-genre fiction for adults.

If you’d like to receive exclusive bonus content on my books, subscribe to my author updates: http://kourtneyheintz.com/contact/

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Review of Shadow Fall By Audrey Grey

  • Title: Shadow Fall
  • Author: Audrey Grey
  • Publisher: Blaze Publishing
  • Publication Date: November 22, 2016
  • Pages: 368
  • Genre: Young Adult, Sci Fi, Dystopian
  • Series: Shadow Fall #1

Goodreads Synopsis:

The asteroid hurtling toward the earth will kill billions.

The Emperor and his Gold Court will be safe in their space station, watching from the stars. The Silvers will be protected underground. But the Bronzes must fight it out at the Shadow Trials for the few remaining spots left on the space station.

When an enigmatic benefactor hands Maia Graystone a spot in the Trials, she won’t just get a chance at salvation for her and her baby brother, Max: She gets to confront the mother who abandoned her in prison, the mad Emperor who murdered her father, and the Gold prince who once loved her. But it’s the dark bastard prince she’s partnered with that will make her question everything, including her own heart. With the asteroid racing closer every day, Maia must trust someone to survive.

The question is who?

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Copy of Shadow Fall provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Let me start with the obvious, Shadow Fall is extremely similar to The Hunger Games. The population was divided into classes, ruled by an evil emperor, a game made for teens where they kill each other or die by other means, and a heroine who is risking her life to save her younger sibling. All very Hunger Games-ish. Unlike Hunger Games, I actually enjoyed and was interested by our heroine, Maia. Also I actually found her and Riser’s relationship and feelings for one another to be way more believable.

Maia was more or else made to sound like a weak girl who was scared of anything and everything. I actually found her to be quite brave, and that’s before, well before something happened that I wont give away. After that something happened she struggled with who she was before and who she was now suppose to be. Which only made her story more enjoyable to read. Then there’s Riser, who I had no idea what to expect from him. In fact his whole story caught me be surprise. Just when I thought I had him figured out it was like, SURPRISE! I gave up trying to guess anything to do with him after a while and just enjoyed reading the story unfold.

Now I am by no means an expert on the dystopian genre, but this one had some fresh ideas that were interesting to me. I’d like to list them all but I wont give spoilers. What I will say is the technology they use in this world had my intrigued from the get go, but also gave me a lot of unanswered questions. Fingers crossed those questions will be answered in the next book, which I am actually really looking forward to. I also got a real kick out of Maia’s rebellious side. What can I say deep down I’m a little rebellious but can only explore that when living vicariously through fictional characters. Shadow Fall leaves at such a cliff hanger I had to check I wasn’t skipping pages before I accepted the fact it was done, for now.

Honestly I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book, but I loved it. Forget it’s similarities to HG. Forget that though its fighting and chaos made it exciting, it also got confusing at times. And yes forget the unanswered questions. It was the characters and their relationships that really pulled me into this story and not only held but increased my interest. It is those characters I will be coming back for when the second books drops! You should probably read this one before it does.

 

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Reach For You Blitz

Reach for You
Pat Esden
(The Dark Heart #3)
Published by: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Her passion is her greatest weakness.
His legacy is his prison.
To reunite, both must fight the demons within.

A world of deception and danger separates Annie Fremont from her mother—and from Chase, the enigmatic groundskeeper with whom Annie’s fallen in love. But she vows to find her way back to them, before Chase succumbs to the madness that threatens his freedom. The only person who can help is the magical seductress, Lotli, a beautiful, manipulative woman . . . a woman who has disappeared.

Annie must stay strong, even as the future she imagined is slipping away. With the help of family and friends, she discovers that Lotli is being held against her will, by those who want to exploit her powers. But though weakened, Lotli remains a powerful ally and adversary. A bargain is struck. And now Annie’s only chance to rescue Chase could also tear them apart . . .

Loyalties will be tested, walls will be breached, and enemies will be fought, yet Annie’s greatest battle lies within her own heart—to trust her love for Chase to overcome its greatest enemy, and to save those she holds most dear from the terrifying realm of the djinn. For all of their lives depend on it.

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Previous books in the series:
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CHAPTER ONE:

We journey. Ceaseless and hungry.

Carved into stone tablet. Tenerife, Spain

The campsite was ominously silent. Then a breeze lifted and my ear caught the faint clank and rattle of the bones and knives hanging in the pine trees behind us.

“You don’t think they’re both dead, do you?” Selena whispered.

I scanned the dilapidated camper ahead of us, a do-it-yourself RV created out of an old bread truck. Despite the midafternoon warmth, the doors were shut tight. The tent behind it, barely visible from our angle, bowed under the weight of rain that had pooled in its canopy. There was no campfire smoke. No trampled grass. In comparison to when we’d come here last week, the place looked deserted.

Goose bumps pebbled my skin. I gave the camper another once-over. “Zea was really old and sickly. He could have died—or if the kidnappers came here first looking for Lotli, they could have found him. They might have—”

Selena cut me off with a glower. “You mean, supposed kidnappers.”

My jaw clenched. Yeah, that was exactly what I meant. I understood why my cousin didn’t like that everything we’d discovered pointed to her boyfriend, Newt, being involved in Lotli’s disappearance, and perhaps Zea’s as well. But I thought we’d gotten past that, like a bunch of times already.

I swiveled toward where we’d parked our Land Rover. The Professor stood rooted next to it, a mixture of disgust and apprehension crinkling his face. From his scholarly glasses and sandy brown hair all the way down to his polished loafers, he looked anything but ready for our reconnaissance trip out here on the back roads of Down East Maine. An afternoon of research at Oxford University would have been more appropriate. “You want to check inside the tent while we look in the camper?”

His gaze flicked to the soggy tarps. He cleared his throat, then—as posh as ever—said, “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally against the idea. But the thought of discovering a rotting corpse is a teensy bit abhorrent.”

“Would you rather discover one in a closed-up camper?” I snapped. It was lucky we’d driven into the campsite from the main road instead of walking like we’d done the last time. I’d assumed the Professor had an adventuresome spirit to go with his young Indiana Jones good looks. Especially since he was an archaeologist, though this summer he was tutoring Selena’s eleven-year-old brother as a favor. Still, and despite how eager he’d seemed to come with us, the Professor had freaked the second we started past the creepy stuff Zea and Lotli hung in the trees to scare people off: the knives and bones, pieces of copper pipe, broken mirrors, and doll parts. Frankly, I was surprised he’d even gotten out of the Land Rover at all.

I pasted on a smile. “Sorry. I don’t much care for the idea myself. Let’s just hope he’s napping or something.”

The Professor wiped his hands down the sides of his chinos. “I truly hope you’re right.”

As he headed for the tent, I tramped toward the camper with Selena close behind. If only Chase were here now. The creepy stuff hadn’t bothered him at all, and the fear of Zea being dead would have only driven him forward faster.

My chest tightened, my longing for Chase aching inside me, raw and unrelenting. If it weren’t for me, he would be here now. Instead, both he and my mother were trapped in the djinn realm, prisoners of his father, Malphic. If it weren’t for me, Lotli wouldn’t be missing either.

“Well?” Selena jerked her head at the camper door. “Are you going to just stand there?”

I raised my hand and knocked. One second passed. Two seconds. I rapped harder. Nothing. I tried the doorknob. It turned beneath my grip. I opened the door a crack, hesitated, and took a deep breath before pushing it open all the way.

A wave of hot, musty air rushed past me as if the camper had been closed up for days.

“Hello?” I said, sticking my head inside. I gave the air a cautious sniff. No dangerous odors, like a leaky gas stove, permeated the air. No rotting-trash smell—or decomp.

Selena nudged my shoulder. “What are you waiting for?”

I swallowed hard and stepped forward.

The place was cramped, a gypsy wagon on steroids. Tassels and prisms curtained the windows, letting only faint streaks of light inside. Miles of fuchsia and turquoise fabric draped the ceiling and walls. Animal skulls, feathers, and nubby candles clustered inside miniature altars. The fridge, table, and chairs, every surface that wasn’t fabric covered, was painted purple or black. Stars decorated the ceiling. An antique bed piled with crimson quilts and an avalanche of pillows took up the camper’s entire backend. It was cozy enough, I supposed. But I couldn’t begin to imagine what life had been like for Lotli, apprenticed to Zea as a child because of her magic abilities, essentially indentured. Not that I thought a devout shaman like Zea would have been cruel to her. It was just so different from anything I’d experienced.

“Zea, are you here?” I called out. “We need to talk to you about Lotli.”

I minced my way deeper into the cramped space, working my way toward the back of the camper. Cold sweat carved a trail down my spine. I crept past a tiny kitchen and dining nook, then the bathroom—one toothbrush in the holder, a washcloth draped over the edge of a yellowed sink.

I returned to the front of the camper and pulled aside the curtain that divided the living area from the bread truck’s cab. Seats for the driver and a passenger, seashells glued to the dash, insulated coffee cups in the holders—

Something brushed the back of my neck.

I yelped and jumped sideways, whipping around to see what it was and smacking my elbow against the wall. Pain zinged up my arm. I glared at Selena, standing barely an inch behind me.

“Shit,” I said, rubbing the sting from my arm. “You scared the hell out of me.”

She gave me a sheepish pout. “Sorry. I thought you knew I was there.”

“I didn’t think you were that close.” It wouldn’t have hurt half as bad, except I was already sore and bruised from being thrown out of the djinn realm earlier in the day.

Her pout transformed into a smug smile and she flipped her blond hair over one shoulder. “Looks to me like Zea and Lotli might have pulled a vanishing act after all. Huh?”

I stopped rubbing. “Or the Professor’s about to find something disgusting in the tent.”

“Want to bet?”

I closed my eyes, struggling to regain my composure. We couldn’t afford to waste time discussing the same thing over and over again, any more than I could have afforded the luxury of staying home to nurse my aches and pains. Chase and Mother were in danger. And I couldn’t go back to the realm and rescue them until we found Lotli. Without her and her flute-magic, it would be too risky, perhaps even impossible to enter or escape from the realm.

I shoved past Selena and strode to the tiny bathroom. “While we’re here, we should find something personal of Lotli’s that you can use to scry and see where they’re holding her.”

Glancing around, I spotted a scruffy hairbrush. You couldn’t get much more personal than that. I grabbed it and brandished it toward Selena.

She stood just inside the bathroom doorway, hands on her hips, eyes narrowed. “Cut it out, Annie, I’ve had enough of you talking like Newt kidnapped Lotli, the innuendos and little jabs. Maybe his family’s hiding something, but Newt doesn’t have anything to do with it. So quit acting like he’s evil, okay?”

I mirrored her stance. “He told you his dad was a stockbroker, that they owned their summer home. Those were lies. His brother is a registered creep. No matter what you want to think: Newt’s not innocent.”

She turned her back on me, her voice bordering on hysteria. “I don’t know why I bothered coming. You’re so, so . . . You always have to be right—” Her voice died and she slowly faced me. Angry red blotches mottled her face. But tears rimmed her eyes.

My anger drained. She didn’t look pissed. She was trembling like she was about to fall apart. Earlier today, when we’d first heard about the lies Newt and his family had been telling, I’d seen something in Selena’s eyes, something beneath her disbelief.

“What is it? Tell me,” I asked gently.

She raked her hands over her face. “Nothing. You just need to trust me. I know Newt couldn’t be involved. And he wouldn’t have let his brother do it either.”

I leveled my gaze with hers and toughened my voice. “What makes you so certain? Tell me the truth, Selena.”

Her chin quivered. “I just know.”

Tucking the hairbrush handle first into my hip pocket, I stepped closer. I pushed her hair back from her face. “You’re my cousin. Please. Tell me.”

“Nothing. He just wouldn’t do it. He loves me.”

“I get that. But—”

She shoved my hand away. “No, you don’t get it. I know he loves me. Like forever.” Her eyes pleaded for me to understand what she couldn’t bring herself to say.

A possibility seeped into my head. My hands went to my mouth, covering a horrified gasp. She couldn’t mean. She couldn’t have. “What did you do?”

“I kind of—I put a . . .” Her voice faded and she looked down at the floor.

“A spell?” A month ago, the idea of witchcraft being involved would never have occurred to me. Now it seemed more than likely.

“You can’t tell anyone. Mom, Dad, Grandfather—they’d kill me.” She curled her arms over her head, her shoulders shaking as she crumpled down against the wall.

I crouched and put my arms around her. “Whatever it is, it’ll be fine. It can’t be that bad.”

“It is,” she sobbed.

 

Author Bio:

PAT ESDEN would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts. An antique-dealing florist by trade, she’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.

Website / Goodreads / Facebok / Twitter

 

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Review of Witchtown by Cory Putman Oaks

  • Title: Witchtown
  • Author: Cory Putman Oaks
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
  • Publication Date: July 18 2017
  • Pages: 320
  • Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Goodreads Synopsis:

When sixteen-year-old Macie O’Sullivan and her masterfully manipulative mother Aubra arrive at the gates of Witchtown—the most famous and mysterious witch-only haven in the world—they have one goal in mind: to rob it for all it’s worth.

But that plan derails when Macie and Aubra start to dig deeper into Witchtown’s history and uncover that there is more to the quirky haven than meets the eye.

Exploring the haven by herself, Macie finds that secrets are worth more than money in Witchtown.

Secrets have their own power.

Goodreads * Amazon

ARC of Witchtown provided by author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed Witchtown,  but there were a few hits and misses for me. I won’t give any spoilers but some characters secrets were surprising while others were really predictable. Granted this book really seems like it was written for a younger audience so maybe with them these issues will go unnoticed. Other than that it just felt like a lot more could have been done with the story. Especially considering when you think of witches you think of magic, and even though there was some magic, it just felt like there could have been so much more.  On top of that I don’t feel the synopsis accurately describes Macie and her mothers relationship. It makes them sound like a close team that worked together to figure out the mystery of Witchtown, and that’s just not the case at all.

With that said Witchtown really was a fun read. Macie is strong but completely under her mothers control. As the story continued I really loved reading about Macie’s internal struggle. Seeing her fight with what shes always been told about her self and what shes starting to discover really held my attention.  I also really enjoy an interesting supporting cast and this book had that as well, for the most part. The characters closest to Macie were great. Where as some of them that were just kind of there could have probably been left out and it wouldn’t impact the story at all. As for Aubra, Macie’s mom, I truly hated her from the beginning. I feel like shes the worse kind of person there could ever be. I’ll leave her at that because I really don’t want to give anything away.

Aubra/\/\/\

 To be completely honest once half way through the book I couldn’t put it down. Even with the cons I pointed out and having an idea of where it was going, it was still a really great story. It just goes to show that even if you figured out the big plot twist, it’s still fun to read. Getting to see how Macie finds out and see how she handles it, is what really makes it intriguing.  Plus there’s still some mysteries I wasn’t able to guess. I have to say, Witchtown had mystery, some fun, a little romance, and wrapped up with some magic made it a good read.