Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Book Blitz: Shattered Pack by Aileen Erin (Giveaway)


Shattered Pack
Aileen Erin
(Alpha Girl, #6)
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: November 29th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Meredith Molloney never thought she’d find a mate, let alone someone like Donovan Murry—one of the most powerful Alphas alive. Now that she’s no longer cursed and the evil Luciana Alvarez has been taken care of, she thinks life will finally settle down. Boy, has she never been so wrong
In the middle of the night, Donovan gets a call telling him that his pack has gone to pieces. The news that his second in command has been found brutally murdered has Donovan packing his bags for Ireland, but the last thing Meredith wants to do is leave Texas. She’s heard about how the Celtic Pack are with outsiders. And Donovan has more than a few exes in the pack that will be less than friendly.
Meredith’s never let a few angry wolves stop her, and she’s not about to start now. She’s faced down much worse the past few months. But when she gets there, she finds that it’s not just a few exes who stand in the way between her and her Full Moon Ceremony with Donovan
Meredith is thrust in to a deadly game of pack politics, one the fey have happily joined in on. When the dust settles, she knows she’ll either have everything that she wants or lose it all.
alphashattered_


Author Bio:
Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd--from Star Wars (prequels don't count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Release Day Blitz: Terrapin by A.C. Troyer (Giveaway)


Terrapin
A.C. Troyer
(Nordic Airre, #1)
Publication date: May 30th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Eighteen-year-old Charlotte (Jinx), fights her past to chase her dream of becoming an Elite Nordic Airre pilot, yet her rebellious attitude hinders her hard-earned lead status. Overcoming a string of life-altering events and the unwanted advances of Ghost Allen, a smooth talking pilot, is one thing, evading death at the hands of two comrades is another.
When Jinx comes face-to-face with an unlikely ally, she is forced to trust him in order to escape the clutches of those who want to silence her. Can a once broken girl transform her past into an iron will, or will she ultimately crumble under the destruction?
EXCERPT:
“Hold still,” he said.
I froze. My thoughts instantly drew a large coiling snake at my feet, but then a gentle wipe of his thumb swept across my cheek. I jerked away in response. “What are you doing?” I covered his path with my hand, as if the man-germs burned me.
“Hold still. You made it worse. And don’t look at me like I’m your favorite dessert, it’s not helping the situation any.”
There was a tease in his tone. “What situation?” I asked. “And I’m not. Trust me.” I displayed the most repulsed expression I could. The hem of his shirt pulled up over his crossed arms and cleared his head. “Whoa.” My palms few up. “You’re reading the signs all wrong. Put your shirt back on,” I pleaded to him. My eyes widened, soaking up the definition of his stomach. Holy abs.
“You like what you see?” He laughed, waggling his eyebrows.
I gained my composure and mocked a laugh. “I was just thinking you’re almost as toned as I am. Close, but not quite there yet, big guy,” I said, patting his stomach.
His closed lipped dimpled smile awakened something inside of me. The same smile I saw the morning on Senders Rock, the one that sent tingles through my body. I wanted to pull my eyes away. But he was beautiful.


Author Bio:
A.C. grew up climbing trees and spying on her siblings. When not writing, A.C. can be found cheering on her favorite girls at a softball field or sitting in her car reading at practices and eating her hidden stash of chocolate. She enjoys family time, traveling, random road trips, watching movies, decorating, and trying new cocktails. She lives in the mitten state with her husband, two daughters, and their furbabies. Terrapin is her first novel.

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Stacking The Shelves (16)

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

I just realised, I accidentally missed a few weeks! So I'm gonna add them in here too:

Books:
The 100 by Kass Morgan
Day 21 by Kass Morgan
Homecoming by Kass Morgan
The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Currently Reading:
From Potter's Field by Patricia Cornwell
Saven Disclosure by Siobhan Davis

TV/Movies:
The 100 Season 1 Episode 1

Friday, May 27, 2016

Review: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

25526307The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Goodreads Summary: War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review: When I started reading The Winner's Kiss, I feared that I wouldn't remember the characters and plot, like when I read Cruel Crown. However, none of this happened.

What had happened in previous books had still remained inside me, slightly deeper than the surface, but definitely reachable. I remembered the characters, their roles, and everything else from the start.

Kestrel is still paying for the aftermath and discoveries that occurred in The Winner's Crime. Arin, on the other hand can't stop thinking about her while he leads the Herrani army against Valoria.

The Winner's Trilogy is set in a rich, fantastical world that I really like. The storyline is divided into two parts: Part I, Struggle, and Part II, Victory. There are some plot twists, which I enjoyed, but I really hoped there would be more.

The Winner's Kiss was a very enjoyable, relatively quick read. Kestrel is a really good character that I admire, and I really like how Kestrel and Arin's love story is so difficult, and finally is put to a rest in the finale.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of Fantasy and Court Intrigue.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Release Day Blitz: Shining Sea by Mimi Cross (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Shining Sea
Mimi Cross
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Arion Rush has always played the obedient sidekick to her older sister’s flashy femme fatale—until a mysterious boating accident leaves Lilah a silent, traumatized stranger. As her sister awaits medical treatment with their mother, Arion and their father head to his hometown in Maine to prepare a new life for them all. Surrounded by the vast Atlantic, songwriting is Arion’s only solace, her solid ground.
Unexpectedly, Arion blossoms in the tiny coastal town. Friends flock to her, and Logan Delaine, a volatile heartthrob, seems downright smitten. But it’s Bo Summers—a solitary surfer, as alluring as he is aloof—that Arion can’t shake. Meanwhile, Lilah’s worsening condition, a string of local fatalities, and Arion’s own recent brushes with death seem ominously linked…to Bo’s otherworldly family. As Arion’s feelings for Bo intensify and his affections turn possessive, she must make a choice. How will Arion learn to listen to her own voice when Bo’s siren song won’t stop ringing in her ears?
EXCERPT:
GOODBYE
Tuneless humming is coming from the bedroom next to mine. I’ve always been the better singer, no secret. Even before I could talk, I sang. To me, singing feels like . . . flying.
As a little kid I sang in the church choir, later on in the choruses at school, and about six months ago I started writing songs—not that I’d call myself a songwriter yet. My first gig was last week, down in the Mission District. Standing on the spotlit stage of the black box performance space, I played one long set—twelve tunes total—while hipsters watched with crossed arms.
Performing in front of an audience is a good way to tell if your songs are finished.
Or not.
The song I’m trying to capture now definitely falls into the not category.
I give the guitar a soft strum—a ghost of a chord slips out. Playing the haunting notes a little louder, I listen for the melody. It’ll come, eventually, but we’re leaving any minute.
Not just leaving . . . moving.
“Do you know,” I whisper sing, “where lost things go?”
In the next room Lilah falls silent. The lyrics tangle in my throat.
My fingers fumble, then jerk—playing a rhythmic pattern atop a single minor chord: one and two, one and two. Words tumble out of me. “Saint Anthony, can you come around? There’s something lost, and it can’t be found.”
Saint Anthony—is he the one?
A quick Google search on the laptop perched at the end of my bed tells me he is. Saint Anthony is invoked as the finder of lost things. Pulling my guitar closer, I play the line over and over.
“Arion? You up there?”
Dad. After shoving the laptop into my backpack, I shut the guitar in its case and head into the hall. Hands full, I stand in my sister’s doorway.
She doesn’t see me.
Even as thin as she is, even with the ever-present dark shadows beneath her eyes, Lilah is beautiful. Her features are regular and in proportion. Mine . . . are slightly exaggerated. Nose longer, lips fuller. Now, without music to distract me, the tears I’d vowed not to cry fill my eyes. Brown eyes. On a good day, they’re hazel. Maybe.
There’s no mistaking the color of my sister’s eyes. Bright blue. Her hair is black and shiny, cut straight across her forehead and blunt at her shoulders in a way that has always made me think of Cleopatra, but especially since the accident, when she became a mystery to me. Lilah no longer tells me her every thought. She can’t.
My sister blinks her bellflower eyes now, and for a split second— seems to focus on me.
But the illusion vanishes just as quickly. I swallow around the lump in my throat, wondering for the millionth time if she has any idea what’s going on.
Her bed is up against the window. In the distance—over a nearly invisible San Francisco Bay—the Golden Gate Bridge hovers in fog. Sitting down beside her on the bed, I lay a hand on one of her legs—feel bones, atrophied muscles. A raw feeling spreads through me, like a dull blade is scraping the underside of my skin.
“So . . . guess it’s time for goodbye.” I take a deep breath in, let it out slowly—which doesn’t help at all. “I’ll see you in Rock Hook Harbor. Dad’s one-horse hometown . . . Sounds happening, huh?” My attempt at lightheartedness fails completely. The words drop like bricks.
Leaning in, I kiss her cheek.
She turns away, as if looking toward the ghostly water. Or, is she looking at the water? Or just staring blankly?
I so want it to be the former. The doctors say it’s the latter.
In my chest, a hairline fissure I’ve fused together with lyrics and chords pops open.
“I love you,” I choke out.
She doesn’t answer. Of course she doesn’t.
Biting down hard on my lip, I stand up, trying not to feel like I’m leaving my best friend stranded. But I am. She is. Stranded. She’s been stranded, for a year.
Swiping at my eyes, I take a few steps down the hall—then turn suddenly into my parents’ room, which is mostly Mom’s room now. Dad spends the nights he’s here on the living room couch, where, after dinner—usually something complicated he’s cooked up involving lots of pots and pans—he falls asleep with the TV on. Blue screen to white noise; maybe the sound helps him. Music works better for me. Or, it used to. I used to lie in bed at night and sing. Lately, all I want to do is sleep.
Like the rest of the house, my parents’ bedroom is crowded with canvases. Filled with slashes of color and geometric shapes, each paint- ing has the name “Cici” scrawled in large letters down in the right-hand corner. Mom’s pictures pulse with unfamiliar energy, and my nostrils flare at the scent of paint fumes as I move a half-finished piece—an abstract portrait of a girl, I think—that’s leaning up against the glass door. Slipping out onto the balcony, I clutch the cold railing and eye a moldering stack of Psychology Today magazines. Therapy is Mom’s religion.
A pair of paint-splattered jeans hangs off a chair. A handful of paintbrushes soak in a bucket. There’s no sign of Dad.
My parents are like a couple of unmoored boats. Drifting. One of the few things they agreed on this past year? The accident was Dad’s fault. A pretty stupid conclusion, really, considering he hadn’t even been on the boat. But he’s a ship’s captain. Lilah and I inherited our love of the water from him.
Water. I hate it now. Because of the water, I’m on this balcony almost every day, drawn out here as if for a long-standing appointment, some prearranged meeting between me and my broken heart. I cry here; sometimes I yell. Sometimes I write, and one day, I nearly threw my guitar over the railing.
Splintered wood, snapped strings, I’m interested in broken things. The circling song lyrics fade at the sound of Mom’s strained voice. “Arion, have you finished saying goodbye to Delilah? Your dad’s ready to go.”
I stay another second, then scoop up a stray guitar pick from the terracotta tiles and head inside, not paying any attention to the paint- ings now, just intent on leaving before I get any more upset.
But then I’m passing Lilah’s room—and I see it.
The slim black notebook I’ve searched for probably a hundred times over the past year.
Oh, I’ve seen the palm-size Moleskine with its curled cover, seen it clutched in Lilah’s fist, watched as she whisked the small black book beneath her quilt, or shoved it between her sheets. I just haven’t been able to get my hands on it, and I’ve wanted to, desperately.
So many times I’ve seen her slip the notebook between the over- size pages of the art books that Mom insists on bringing home from the library. She’ll hug the book close then—her treasure safe inside— but she’ll never actually look at the glossy pages. Not like she looks at that notebook. She looks at that black book like it’s the only thing she recognizes.
It’s definitely some kind of diary. Not that I ever see her writing in it, not since before. But she’s always got it on her.
Only, she doesn’t have it on her now.
Now, there it is, on the floor next to her bed. And Lilah, there she is, still looking but not looking out the window. Transfixed, it would seem, by the gray bay. As I watch, she lifts one hand, bringing her fingertips to the glass—as if there’s something out there she wants to touch.
It’s kind of amazing how I do it, how I steal her most precious pos- session without breaking my stride. How I silently sweep into the room and, bending low, snatch it up—then keep on walking like nothing’s happened. Like I’m ten-year-old Lilah herself, that time at the rock and gem shop down near the beach, trying on one sterling silver ring, then another. I’ll never forget it, how she smiled at the shopkeeper—maybe even said thank you—then practically skipped out the door, still wear- ing at least one of the rings. Once outside, she tossed a half-dozen more rings onto the pebbles that served as the shop’s front yard, so that she could retrieve them that night when the gem shop was closed, so that we could retrieve them.
Eight-year-old me, I’d held the flashlight for her. She’d given me one of the rings as my reward, but only one.
I feel bad taking the book; if I could read it and leave it, I would. But there’s no time. Through the hall window I can see Dad standing down in the driveway by the old green Jeep Cherokee, the car that will be mine once we get to Maine.
So I slide the notebook into the pocket of my backpack where it burns a hole so big I think it will surely fall out—pages fluttering like fiery wings—and slap the floor with a sound so sharp, Lilah will shud- der to life. She’ll spring up and shout at me, her old self at last.
But nothing like this happens.
Leaving Lilah. Taking the notebook. My skin ripples with guilt. But we have to go on ahead. School’s starting in a few weeks, plus Dad’s new job—they won’t hold it any longer.
And really, I have to take the book. I need to know what happened.
Out in the driveway, I crane my neck, trying to see if Lilah’s still at the window.
“Hold on,” Mom shouts from the house, “I almost forgot!”
Time seems suspended as Dad and I wait by the car, the limbo of the long ride already upon us . . .
Mom reappears holding a square box wrapped in gold paper and a purple ribbon. Balanced on top is a fat cupcake with pink frosting.
“Happy birthday, Arion.” Her flinty blue eyes soften. She hands me the awkward duo and gives me an equally awkward hug. “From both of us.”
Dad smiles, shakes his head. “Seventeen.” He’s always been a man of few words.
“Thanks, Mom. Dad.” Swallowing hard, I climb into the car with the gifts on my lap. Mom pecks Dad on the cheek, and he gets behind the wheel. As we pull away, she blows me a kiss.
Twisting in my seat, I wave—then look up at the second story. No Lilah.
My chest hurts so much—I actually glance down. But there’s nothing except a smear of pink icing on my shirt, where I’d leaned into the cupcake.
We’ll fly back close to Thanksgiving, when Lilah is scheduled for the operation that my parents have finally decided is her best bet: a surgical procedure to implant a device in her brain.
It’s not as sci-fi as it sounds. The battery-operated device is kind of like a pacemaker, only for your brain instead of your heart. This kind of surgery is used to treat a variety of disabling neurological symptoms, although I think whoever came up with DBS—deep brain stimulation—was thinking of people with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, not, well, whatever’s wrong with Lilah. Her case is—entirely different. I’m not going to pretend: I’m scared. But the plan is, we’ll all be together in Maine by Christmas, so that’s what I’m trying to focus on. I’ll miss Lilah. Mom too. But I’m glad to be leaving San Francisco.
My life here . . . is on hold—except for my music. The rest is a waiting game.
We’ve all been waiting for Lilah to find what she lost. As if she can look for it.


Author Bio:
Mimi Cross was born in Toronto, Canada. She received a master's degree from New York University and a bachelor's degree in music from Ithaca College. She has been a performer, a music educator, and a yoga instructor. During the course of her musical career, she's shared the bill with artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Sting. She resides in New Jersey.

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Release Day Blitz: Curse by Steven James (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Curse
Steven James
(Blur Trilogy #3)
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: May 24th 2016
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Don’t miss this intriguing and climactic conclusion to the Blur Trilogy.
As Daniel Byers prepares to attend a basketball camp before his senior year of high school, the terrifying blurs that’ve plagued him for the last nine months return.
Dark images begin to haunt him—creatures crawling from the deepest pits of his nightmares, glimmers of chilling memories from his early childhood. But before he can unearth the meaning behind his mysterious hallucinations, Daniel must team up with two other extraordinary teens to save a young woman who has been abducted by a scientist obsessed with enacting his own warped form of justice.
This atmospheric mystery picks up where Fury left off and takes readers into the uncharted regions where reality and madness intertwine.
EXCERPT:
Dr. Waxford wound his way along the road, climbing higher into the Great Smoky Mountains.

He and his team had made great strides in the last couple of years, but the loss of the research facility in northern Wisconsin last December had slowed things down—that is, until they located this old hotel here in this remote part of eastern Tennessee.

Actually, the site was ideal. It was isolated and lay at the end of a one-lane road that had hardly been used in years.

Back in the 1950s when a new highway was built that wrapped around the other side of the mountain, it took the tourists and other businesses with it. The hotel owners went bankrupt and the property went into foreclosure.

Rumored to be haunted, the Estoria Inn had sat empty for decades and was being reclaimed by the forest when Adrian and his team started renovations. Most people, even those in the nearby towns, had forgotten that this place even existed.

And none of them knew what kind of research was happening there now.

Which was probably a good thing.

Fortuitously, the Estoria was also less than an hour drive for the hypnotherapist Adrian sometimes brought up to implant suggestions in the minds of his subjects after they’d been put into a deep trance.

When you pay a hypnotist enough, you can get him to implant any suggestions that you want.

Despair.
Depression.
Loneliness.
They can all be the tools you use in the service of the

greater good.

•••

We’re on our phones searching Internet news sites for recent obituaries when the X-ray results come back.

No broken bones.

The ankle is only sprained. The shoulder will recover. It won’t be ideal for the basketball camp, but at least it’s not my shooting arm.

The doctor gives me a sling to keep the shoulder in place, then explains what I already know: It’s going to be very sore for a while and I’ll run the risk of it coming out of its socket again unless I’m careful. “You’ll need to keep your arm in that sling for the next four to six weeks.”

“Okay. Thanks,” I say, but I know that’s not going to happen.

This camp is a huge deal and missing it isn’t an option. At least a dozen Division I coaches will be there recruiting players and it’s my best chance to get the attention I need for a scholarship offer.

Although I’ve had some interest from a few Big Ten football coaches, honestly, I’d rather play college basket- ball. Way fewer injuries. Less time lifting and more time actually playing. Besides, I don’t really have the size for col- lege football—not to mention my mom worrying about me less, which is a bonus.

While the doctor calls Dad to bring him up to speed and also get permission to give me some pain medication, I touch base with Mom to make sure she knows I’m alright. I decide that it’ll be best to explain about the blur in person, so I don’t bring it up.

Finally, the doctor hands me the meds, along with a prescription.

On their way to see me at the hospital, Kyle had picked up Nicole from her place, so now we swing by to get my car from the road out by the lake where I left it earlier.

Somehow, the logging company has managed to get the logs far enough to one side to allow cars to get past.

Being here brings everything back again and I can’t tell if it’s just my imagination, but my shoulder seems to throb more as I remember what it was like to get hit by that truck.

My attention shifting from one thing to the next.
That slipstream again.
All those unnoticed slivers of reality curling right past me.

But now, the ones branded with pain are coming to the forefront.

I ride with Nicole, who drives my car so I can rest my shoulder. Kyle follows us back to my house in his vintage Mustang. Even though it’s late, we search online again for a little

while, but we still can’t find anything about kids who’ve recently died—at least not any that match the age of the boy in the road.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s still alive.

He might not have died recently. After all, the girl I saw burn up in my blur back in December had actually died in the 1930s.

As it turned out, I’d learned about her story and seen her picture years ago when I was nine. Then, just before Christmas, my mind threaded some clues together and showed me what it might have looked like when the lantern she was standing next to caught fire to her nightgown and ended up taking her life.

I’d forgotten all about her.

When the memory came back, it brought a flood of other grisly images with it because the day I first saw her photo I’d been present when a killer struck, but I’d blocked it out.

They say trauma can do that, that it can rip the fabric between your conscious and your subconscious mind.

My problem is that the rip keeps getting bigger.

My friends get word from their parents that they need to take off and I tell them goodnight.

“See you tomorrow?” Nicole says.
“Yeah.” I give her a quick kiss.
“Kiss me and I’ll dislocate your other shoulder,” Kyle tells me. Then he taps a finger thoughtfully against the air. “But at least then you wouldn’t notice the first one so much. So there is that.”

“Thanks, but no thanks.”
“Okay, so before I go, I’ve got one for you.”
“You’ve got one?”
“A riddle: I’m twice as old as I used to be when I was half as young as I am now. How old am I?”
For months he’s been trying to trick me with math or logic problems. Doesn’t always work out so well.
“That one’s easy. It would be whatever age you are, so you’re the same as me. Seventeen.”
“Yes. And I’m seriously glad you’re still seventeen and not dead.” “Yeah.”

“It would have totally ruined my night.” “Mine too.”
“Text me.”
“I will.”

A little while after they leave, Dad comes home and checks on me.

“I’m good,” I tell him. “Anything serious with that call?” “Call?”
“The dispatch code. I heard it at the hospital. Was it a suicide?”

“Scarlett Cordova accidentally overdosed on some over the counter drugs.”

Scarlett is a year behind me at school. “Is she alright?” “She will be. Gave everyone a scare, though.”
“How do they know?”
He looks at me curiously. “How do they know what?” “You said she accidentally OD’ed. How do they know it was an accident?”
“There were three other kids there with her when it happened. It was during some kind of drinking game. Her parents were gone. Good thing she’s alright. Lucky girl.”

“There’s a lot of that going around tonight.” “A lot of what?”
“Luck.”
“I guess maybe there is.”

After telling me one more time how thankful he is that I’m okay, he heads to his room and I climb into bed, hoping that even with the aching shoulder I’ll be able to get some rest.

Instead, I find myself caught up thinking about who that boy might have been and what the blur might mean.

He’d reached out to me, just like the girls in my earlier blurs had done.

It’d been too late to save them.

Maybe if we were lucky one more time, it wouldn’t be too late to save him.


Author Bio:
Best known for his high-octane thrillers, Steven James is the award-winning author of eleven suspense novels. The Blur Trilogy is his first mystery series for teens. Steven has taught creative writing around the world and loves rock climbing, science fiction movies, and chicken fajitas. Find him at www.stevenjames.net.




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Top Ten Tuesday (16)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke And The Bookish

This week's topic: Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed 

This list is books I loved after I read them, but after time passed I didn't like them so much. Doesn't mean I hate them, just don't 'love' them.

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
3. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
4. Talon by Julie Kagawa
5. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (This one, definitely in a good way.)
6. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
7. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
8. I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
9. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: The 100 by Kass Morgan

The 100 (The 100 #1) by Kass Morgan
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Readers
Goodreads Summary: 
No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now.

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents -- considered expendable by society -- are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life...or it could be a suicide mission.

CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she's haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor's son, came to Earth for the girl he loves -- but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope.

Review: Day 21 by Kass Morgan

Day 21 (The 100 #2) by Kass Morgan
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Goodreads Summary: 
No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now.
It's been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth. They're the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries...or so they thought. Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group together. Clarke strikes out for Mount Weather, in search of other Colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.
In this pulse-pounding sequel to Kass Morgan's The 100, secrets are revealed, beliefs are challenged, and relationships are tested. And the hundred will struggle to survive the only way they can -- together.
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: 
Day 21 was another great, quick read. It is told from the same perspectives as The 100, although I felt like the plot really accelerated and moved forward, unlike The 100.

The 100 have now discovered that they're not the only ones on earth.T here are others around, and they appear to be killing them off one at a time.

There were a lot more plot twists in Day 21, and I really liked the ending. I definitely ship Clarke + Bellamy, Wells + Sasha, and Glass + Luke. I don't think Glass gets enough chapters throughout the books for me to see her story clearly.

I can't really think of anything else to say. It's quite similar to The 100, maybe not that much action overall, but I liked it.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of YA Adventure and Sci-fi.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Review: The Kill Order by James Dashner

The Kill Order (The Maze Runner #0.5) by James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Goodreads Summary: 
The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series.

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.

Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.
Rating: 2 Stars
Review: 
Took me a long time to read this with many breaks, but I finally finished it. Perhaps that affected the rating, along with me being a speed reader, but I'm not certain; this review is entirely my opinion and based on my reading style.

I didn't get bored too often in The Kill Order, I just found it somewhat plain. Yes, there is lots of adventure, but it didn't feel that genuine to me. As for why, I have no idea.

The Kill Order is written in third person, present tense. There are flashbacks to give the reader insight and a background story, which is written in past tense. These are brought in the form of Mark's 'nightmares'. While they were intended to give background information, I felt like they were quite sudden and unwarranted; I'd start reading in past tense, then realise that the setting and characters weren't right, and finally realise I was in one of Mark's nightmares.

Mark is a boy rescued by Alec, an ex military soldier. His love interest is Trina, his former neighbour and the only girl his age. A lot of people die, including many from their group. As they travel, they find deadly information and discover a cold and twisted truth.

I felt that the epilogue was my favourite part. It didn't relate to the rest of The Kill Order at all, and I felt that it was the true prequel to The Maze Runner as it related directly to a younger version of Thomas.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
Edition:
 Ebook
Buy the book:
Book Depository

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (Soundtrack)

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Goodreads Summary: 
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights
Rating: 5 + Stars

Friday, May 20, 2016

Release Day Blitz: The Lunam Ceremony by Nicole Loufas (Excerpt + Giveaway)


The Lunam Ceremony
Nicole Loufas
Publication date: May 20th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Born from a curse that allows her kind to shift from human to wolf, Kalysia won the genetic lottery. She is the offspring of an original, born to lead and bound by her duty to produce an heir to continue their bloodline she must leave the only life she has ever known to take part in The Lunam Ceremony. This ancient ritual will solidify her place in the pack and determine who she will love for the rest of her life. There’s just one problem – Kalysia doesn’t believe in love.
That changes when she falls into the hands of Dillan Dukes. The attraction is undeniable. The connection unbreakable. He is everything love at first site is supposed to be, suddenly her future doesn’t look that bad.
Unwilling to give up hope on going to college and having the life her and Dillan fantasize about outside the pack, she reluctantly takes on the role as pack leader. When an unexpected proposal is made that will grant both Dillan and Kalysia their freedom she is willing to put her ego, and her heart aside, to make her dream come true.
One night.
One act of selflessness.
For the life she’s always dreamt about.
Only things are not what they seem.
Can Kalysia and Dillan find happily ever after with the consequences of that night haunting them forever?
Will one fateful night destroy Kalysia’s future along with the future of the pack?
EXCERPT:
A loud boom rattles the windows in the building and I hit the floor. It sounds like a bomb has gone off, but I hear laughing and the music comes back on. It was just fireworks. I make my way back downstairs and out the back door. I’ll hide in the woods. By the time the ceremony starts and Layla notices I’m missing, it will be too late to find me.
I see Bonnie and Jessie carrying out the white garments. It’s almost time. I move towards the woods and I spot Cassie looking for me. I flatten myself against the wall and slide across it until I reach the end of the building. I round the corner and take off in a full sprint towards the woods. I make it three steps and then I trip.
That hurt. I spit dirt from my mouth as I push myself up to a sitting position. I look down at my knee and hear someone laughing. When I turn my head, I see Dillan Dukes leaning against the wall.
“Slow down there, speedy,” he quips.
In moments like this, there is nothing you can say. All you can do is laugh. I burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. Dillan joins me on the ground.
“Are you laughing with me or at me?” I finally ask.
“A little of both.” His voice is deep and sexy. He smells like sage and cigarettes. “I’m Dillan, by the way.” He holds his hand out to me and I shake it.
“I know who you are. I’m Kalysia.”
“I know who you are.” He smiles and turns my hand over. “Don’t worry about this.” He swipes his fingers across the scrapes on my palm. “After Lunam, you’ll be all healed.”
“So I’ve heard,” I say as Dillan springs off the ground and helps me up.
We stand face to face in silence. I feel his heart beating between us and suddenly something sparks inside of me. This time the burning begins in my chest. My breathing becomes erratic. I taste his breath on my tongue, and I want to kiss him. I edge forward until we are chest to chest. He steps back. I reach for his hand, and he pulls away.
“Kalysia, we can’t,” he whispers into the space between us. “Lunam is beginning.” He brushes his lips across my hand and walks away.


Author Bio:
Nicole was born and raised in California. She claims to be a San Francisco native, however she’s lived in both Northern and Southern California. She credits her creativity to the fact that she attended 12 schools between kindergarten and her senior year in high school. Her nomadic childhood allowed her to reinvent herself often. Some might say she was a liar. While others see the stories she told as a coping mechanism. Twelve schools, in six cities, in twelve years – give her a break. Today she channels her storytelling ability into writing novels. Long story short – kids that lie become writers.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review: Desolation by Derek Landy

Desolation (Demon Road #2) by Derek Landy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Goodreads Summary: 
THE EPIC NEW THRILLER CONTINUES.

The second book in the mind-blowing new supernatural thriller from bestselling author DEREK LANDY, creator of international sensation Skulduggery Pleasant.

Reeling from their bloody encounter in New York City, Amber and Milo flee north. On their trail are the Hounds of Hell – five demonic bikers who will stop at nothing to drag their quarries back to their unholy master.

Amber and Milo’s only hope lies within Desolation Hill – a small town with a big secret; a town with a darkness to it, where evil seeps through the very floorboards. Until, on one night every year, it spills over onto the streets and all hell breaks loose.

And that night is coming.
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: 
Desolation continues right where Demon Road left off. Having cheated the Shining Demon, Amber and Milo are on the run from the hounds of hell, five demonic bikers who will stop at nothing to bring them back to their master. Their only hope lies in a small town in Alaska called Desolation Hill, rumoured to be able to keep out the demons.

When they arrive, nothing is as it seems. They are told they must leave before the town festival happens. Curious, Amber and Milo start sniffing around, to no avail.

Desolation is told from three third person perspectives, two of which introduce two new character sets that are quickly entwined in the plot. Amber, as always remains the main narrator.

Glen is a very minor character in Desolation, but I feel as if he may be the source of some issues with the plot. He appears briefly near the end of the book, yet isn't mentioned again.

Derek Landy is a skilled writer, always making the plot twist and turn to confuse his guessing readers. I can't wait for book 3, American Monsters! The ending of Desolation was unexpected, and I can't wait to see what happens next.
Purchase Location: I received a copy courtesy of HarperCollins NZ.
Edition:
Paperback
Buy the book:
Book Depository
Recommended for: Fans of adventure, mystery, and action.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Release Day Blitz: The Dream Protocol by Adara Flynn Quick (Excerpt + Giveaway)


The Dream Protocol: Descent
Adara Flynn Quick
Publication date: May 18th 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T GET OLD. In fiery young Deirdre Callaghan’s home of Skellig City, no one has dreamt their own dream in over a thousand years. Dreams are produced by the Dream Makers and sold by the Ministry, the tyrannical rulers of the city. In Skellig City, years of life are awarded equally and the ruined are cast away beneath the city on their 35th birthday.
Unbeknownst to the Ministry, Deirdre’s handsome friend Flynn Brennan is afflicted with a terrible disease – a disease that accelerates the aging process. Knowing his fate if the Ministry should ever discover his illness, Flynn has lived his whole life hiding from their watchful eyes. When Flynn’s secret is finally discovered, Deirdre is determined to free him from the Ministry’s grasp. But to save him, she will have to reveal herself to a shadowy enemy…one that none of them even knew existed.
EXCERPT:
Deirdre was falling from a great height. The air was cold and her hair blew up around her like a golden veil. Ice crystals collected in her curls and they turned rigid as she fell. And then she crashed headlong into a body of ice-cold water. The freezing temperature bit into her skin like a thousand pinpricks, and her eyes flew wide open. Above her was the light of the surface, but a powerful current was sucking her down, down, down into the dark. She flailed against the downward pull, kicking with her legs and reaching with her arms. She knew that the single breath of air in her lungs wouldn’t last much longer. At the last moment, just as she felt that she might open her mouth and drink down the dark water, the riptide from below released her. She kicked for the light, but soon the true horror of the ‘Mare became clear. The surface was sealed away with a thick layer of ice and frost. There would be no air for her lungs in this underwater prison. She beat her fists against the ice to no avail; the dark water wouldn’t let go. She was drowning with the surface just out of reach.
She tried to scream a curse at the Minister, but in this ‘Mare there was only silence. No sounds at all. She sucked down the freezing water and choked, over and over. Mercifully, she passed out. In that brief moment of unconsciousness, a hundred images flickered through her mind, each one like a photograph taken with a magnesium flash bulb. Images of Roenin, Flynn, and the red oak tree kept appearing. In the back of her mind her own voice formed a question: how does Roenin know about the Dream Protocol?
On the surface of the frost, something new came into the dream, something that the ‘Mare Makers would never have sequenced. The ice started to hiss and steam. A pattern wrote itself into the ice block; the five-circle symbol of the Makers. It burst into flame, melting the ice and cold all around the Maker’s daughter. Deirdre felt her body rising out of the water. In dream, she came Awake.


Author Bio:
Irish-American author, Adara Flynn Quick, is the writer of The Dream Protocol series. Early in her career, Adara was fascinated by dreams, the unconscious, and the healing stories of many cultures. As a contemporary author, she writes young adult literature that brings ancient myths and legends into futuristic worlds. She is an accomplished visual artist and uses her background as a psychotherapist to inspire the finest and darkest moments of her characters.
Driven to distraction by her computer, Adara writes all of her stories longhand. Pen and paper are two of her favorite things. The author tortures her husband with a passion for downtempo electronica and too many pillows. She is a firm beleiver that there are never enough pillows.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday (16)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking The Spine.

This week's WoW: Betrayals (Cainsville #4) by Kelley Armstrong

I loved the first three books, and I definitely can't wait for this one! I feel like this cover is a bit of a clue..

Monday, May 16, 2016

Book Blitz: Forestium by Christopher D. Morgan (Giveaway)


Forestium
Christopher D. Morgan
(Portallas #1)
Publication date: February 28th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Joshua’s life is on the line, as he attempts to navigate through the magical world of Forestium to find the truth about his father. He and his companions will need to use all their cunning to stay alive and avoid the dark forces of the Goat. Will he find the magical orbs and open the Portallas, a magical gateway to other worlds, before he’s killed?
Joshua sets out to learn the truth about his father. Along the way, he finds friends, enemies, adventure, romance and himself.
Q&A with Christopher D. Morgan:
When did you first discover your love for writing?


Actually, not until quite late in life. In fact, I was never very good at English when I was in school and writing was always a chore to be avoided at all costs. Being blessed with unintelligible handwriting wasn’t helpful either. Later in life, however, articulating myself through the written word became something I really started to enjoy.
Do you have a favourite place to write?

Not really, but it does have to be in a quiet environment. I’m very easily distracted. When I’m in the zone, I tend to quietly slip off to a cosy spot and get my nose down into the keyboard. I wrote Forestium: The Mirror Never Lies entirely from the family home. Often on the sofa, but sometimes on the bed or at the computer desk. I haven’t tried going to a writer’s retreat yet. Perhaps I’ll reserve that for a special occasion.
Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?



Oh yes. Typically, I’ll kick off a chapter with brief one-liners that describe the events to come sequentially. There could be anywhere up to 50 or more of these for a given chapter. I do this to map out the scene or chapter and then convert each one in turn into a paragraph or two. This process is repeated until all the one-liners are gone. That’s actually the hardest part, I think. I’ll then scour what’s written repeatedly, fixing and adjusting. Of course, that last part is never truly finished – ever.
Where did you come up with the name Portallas?



Initially, it started quite literally from the word PORTAL. This quickly led to the word Portallas and the idea of having some sort of portal that would link worlds together. An interesting aside is that Portallas actually started out life as Portallus. Unfortunately, portallus.com was already taken, but portallas.com was still available, so a hasty name change took place. Despite the master plan I have in my mind, I wrote Forestium: The Mirror Never Lies deliberately to stand on its own merits as a standalone book.
Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

I have a real soft spot for Sarah, as do many others. She embodies many of the characteristics I’d wish for in my own daughter. She’s a strong, independent, resourceful and brilliant young woman – not to mention absolutely beautiful. Of course, she has her flaws. She tend to ramble on a bit (much to the annoyance of Andrew).
Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?



I’m still learning as I go but there are some things that I can advise others that may wish to follow in the path:
- Go for it. Really, just do it. You may be pleasantly surprised. Even if you fail, it’s better to have tried and failed than to wonder for the rest of your life whether you could have done it or not.
- If you are going to publish a book on a budget, don’t scrimp on the editing or the book cover – at least, make those your primary focus. Everything else is expendable when push comes to shove.
- Don’t get conned. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done, as there will always be people looking to take advantage of someone with a need.


Author Bio:
Christopher Morgan is an author, blogger, IT Manager, graphics artist, businessman, volunteer and family man living in Melbourne, Australia. Much of his time is spent volunteering for his local community. He creates visual learning resources for primary school children, which are marketed through his company Bounce Learning Kids. He is also involved in local civics and sits on various community & council committees.
Christopher was born in the UK and grew up in England’s South East. At age 20, he moved to The Netherlands, where he married Sandy, his wife of 28 years. Christopher quickly learned Dutch and the couple spent 8 years living in the far South of that country before they moved to Florida in 1996. After spending 7 years in Florida, Christopher and Sandy sold their home and spent the next 2 years backpacking around the world. Christopher has visited around 40 countries to date.
Whilst circumnavigating the globe, Christopher wrote extensively, churning out travel journals. He and Sandy settled back in the UK at the end of their world tour, where their two children were both born. In 2009, the family moved to Melbourne, Australia, where they now live.
FORESTIUM is Christopher’s debut novel and is the first in the PORTALLAS series.

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Cover Reveal: Neverland Evermore by Sarah J. Pepper


Neverland Evermore
Sarah J. Pepper
Publication date: June 11th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Neverland has a way of breaking people. It corrupts souls. It destroys hope. The evil festering inside it brings out the darkness in our hearts and leaves us worse than dead. No good has ever come from it. Ever.
It is where I was born.
Therefore, darkness is all I know. Corruption is in my bones. So when I see him, I mean to win his heart and then break him. I mean to lure him to my arms and then destroy him. But it is his intentions and his wicked smile that deter me…at least until a lost soul from my past catches up with us.
My world ignites into flames. My love’s sinks to the depths of the sea. We are from two different worlds that overlap for a brief moment in time. But it is that moment which carries me forward. It is that moment in which he lives in the past. It is that moment in which I embrace my true nature and seek vengeance against those responsible for feeding his hand to that godforsaken alligator.


Author Bio:
Award Winning Author, Sarah J. Pepper, specializes in fantasy and paranormal romance. She unveils the beauty of love in her new adult/young adult novels. Her works envelope dark, paranormal romance - think "happy ever after" but with a twisted, dark chocolate center. Real-life romance isn't only filled with hugs, kisses, bunnies, and rainbows. True-love can be more thoroughly described in times of darkness and tribulation. It's in those harsh moments where you see what a person is truly capable of - both the good and bad. Sometimes prince-charming isn't always on time, and the glass slipper is a little snug. However, it doesn't mean Charming is not Mr. Right, and who says every shoe is the perfect fit? Get a glimpse inside her head at www.sarahjpepper.com

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Book Blitz: The Burning Star by Jessie Lane and M.L. Pahl


The Burning Star
Jessie Lane, M.L. Pahl
(Star, #1)
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Kay’s journey of a lifetime started in the woods where she met a beautiful man … along with a monster. The chance encounter led her to an unbelievable world that shouldn’t have existed, a place where myths and fairytales were real and, in some cases, deadly.
Kay knew she would have to brave this new world if she hoped to find a cure for her terminal cancer.
With a strange yet beautiful cast of characters, Kay uncovered truths that would change her life forever. However, before it was all over, she discovered she wasn’t the only one with problems.
Yet another seventeen-year-old young woman was fighting for her life.
Kira had grown up in a magical world. Despite this, her life had not been filled with many good things. She considered her empty, emotional solitude the only positive aspect of her life and fought daily battles to escape abuse and torture.
Trained to be an expert assassin, she was charged with kidnapping Kay and delivering her to Kira’s master, Lord Donovan.
As the two young women set forth on their journeys, their paths would cross in unimaginable ways. There was only one question that remained: who would come out alive?


The Frozen Star
Jessie Lane, M.L. Pahl
(Star, #2)
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
The journey continues …
Kay discovered secrets, lies, shocking truths, and even love in a strange new world hidden from humans. Everything she thought she knew was turned upside down when she found out three things: she wasn’t human; she had a power she couldn’t control; and there was a possibility she might have found a way to cure her deadly cancer by using that very same power.
Just when she was on the precipice of gaining everything she wanted and saving her own life, tragedy struck. Would she be able to fight her way back to Ryan and save herself in the process?
Kira had lived a terrifying life of servitude and abuse under Lord Donovan and his son, Cole. It was an existence that had stripped away her emotions and reasons to keep fighting.
Just when she thought freedom was within reach, Lord Donovan struck again, ruining her plans and almost killing her. When she awoke from her injuries, it was to stunning revelations that would change her life forever, changes she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted.
Persistent individuals, such as Prince Kane, refused to let her walk away, though. Would she embrace all of her sudden fortune? Or would she walk away from those who needed her most, forsaking their acceptance and love?
WARNING: This is a upper ya/young adult/new adult fictional story that includes some explicit language, graphic violence, and mild sexual situations. Recommended for ages sixteen and up.
*This book is a re-release and revision from the original book published in 2012. Please be aware that some things have been added, deleted or changed.*



Author Bio:
Jessie Lane is a best-selling author of Paranormal and Contemporary Romance, as well as, Upper YA Paranormal Romance/Fantasy.
She lives in Kentucky with her two little Rock Chicks in-the-making and her over protective alpha husband that she’s pretty sure is a latent grizzly bear shifter. She has a passionate love for reading and writing naughty romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention, or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them.
She’s also a proud member of the Romance Writer’s of America (RWA).

M.L. Pahl grew up in coastal North Carolina. With the Marine Corps at her back and the sandy beaches beckoning her, she learned nothing could hinder her imagination.
Not wanting to be stuck in one genre, she decided to dabble in everything from zombie apocalypses to romance and even paranormal.
She currently resides in the frozen north of Minnesota with her family and those cute dogs she always tweets about.


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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Book Blitz: Everafter by M. Lathan (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Everafter
M. Lathan
(The Immortals of Westchester Prep, #1)
Publication date: May 15th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
After years of battling leukemia, seventeen-year-old Sydney Long has made peace with her impending death. She expected pain, she expected tearful goodbyes, but she never expected to be turned into an immortal monster who can, with the slightest touch, control life and death.
Now, flowers are stirring when she walks by, she’s oddly drawn to death and the dying, and she must wear gloves to keep her living parents safe.
While her family toils with this supernatural nightmare and finding a way out of it, Sydney falls for magic and an equally as enticing boy who she can’t seem to stay away from.
But nothing comes without a price. When Sydney is targeted for her illegal magic, she’ll learn a whole new meaning of fighting for her life.
EXCERPT:
Dying hurt as much as I’d thought it would.
My burning lungs begged for relief as air hissed into my nose through a plastic tube. The shallow breaths wheezing out of my mouth somehow tasted like medicine and sweat.
They tasted like my life.
Instead of violins and the somber music that played on movies in moments like this, I was dying to the soundtrack of beeping monitors and the soft shuffling of my parents’ feet. They moved around our suite quietly, like ghosts, as they waited for me to become one and finally lose to leukemia.

I’d spent the last three weeks at an upscale ski resort in Lake Placid, just watching my health fade and my time on Earth dwindle to nothing. The view of the constant snow and the towering mountains in the distance usually distracted me from the pain. I needed that view more than ever tonight. Everything hurt, but in my mind, if I didn’t mention it, if I didn’t break, I would beat cancer in my own way.
We couldn’t afford to stay in this snowy paradise, but my parents didn’t want me to die in a sterile hospital. We’d moved to Lake Placid five months ago to chase another faint glimmer of hope, but the clinical trial had ended like all of the others—with me getting sicker. This time, we weren’t doing anything about it. After five years of giving cancer all we had, my parents had decided that we’d fought too much, cried too much, and hoped too much to do it again.
And that was okay. It had to be.
My final days were passing in a blur of tearful calls from my grandparents, long stares from my mom and dad, and smiles from my strangely exuberant hospice nurse. Sarah, with her endless energy and joy, was easily my favorite person on the planet. She supplied medicine that stopped me from feeling and long stories that kept me thinking, which made me feel alive.
Tonight, she was so busy gabbing about her ballerina days that she’d forgotten a dose of painkillers. I didn’t mention it. As she adjusted my oxygen tube, I stared at her beautiful, pixie-like face and the bright red hair framing it. Her tiny features and permanent smile made her a living fairy to me. My personal Tinkerbelle.
“It’s going to happen tonight, isn’t it?” She didn’t answer me. She draped another blanket over my legs without making eye contact. “They gave me a week to live … a week ago.”
“Sydney, I don’t want you to be concerned about death. Ever. Only focus on life and the living. Remember that, sweet girl.”
What a weird thing to say to an almost-corpse. I didn’t need to remember anything anymore. I laughed at her, and that disturbed my failing lungs. One cough turned into two, and soon Sarah had to hold me as my chest heaved relentlessly. The awful sound summoned my parents to my room.
They crept in with red eyes and rivers flowing down their cheeks, wearing yesterday’s clothes.
Nothing said that I was dying more than my dad being home. No matter where we moved, he worked, thanks to his special talent of finding a job within a day. He’d emigrated from China with his parents as a kid, and his entire family worked like one day off would mean certain death. So that was what he did—he spent his days toiling at dead-end jobs to barely keep us afloat. Except for today.
He squeezed my mom’s hand as they approached my bed. Her long dreads were down and wild tonight, and she looked beautiful despite her swollen face and runny nose. My mom had four piercings in each ear, an effortlessly cool hippy style, and a thick Trinidadian accent. Once, I’d wanted to be just like her, but now, I didn’t know what being like her meant other than crying a lot and receiving bad news.
“Mr. and Mrs. Long,” Sarah said, “I was just about to give Sydney her medicine. She’ll be asleep soon, and you don’t look like you’ve gotten much rest. I can watch her tonight.”
“Sarah,” I whispered, as my chest finally calmed. “Go home. Your shift is over.”
She pressed her warm hand to my cheek. I could’ve sworn, for a moment, I felt completely okay.


Author Bio:
M. Lathan lives in San Antonio with her husband and mini-schnauzer. She enjoys writing and has a B.S. in Psych and a Masters in Counseling. Her passion is a blend of her two interests - creating new worlds and stocking them with crazy people. She enjoys reading anything with interesting characters and writing in front of a window while asking rhetorical questions ... like her idol Carrie Bradshaw.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cover Reveal: Terrapin by A.C. Troyer


Terrapin
A.C. Troyer
(Nordic Airre, #1)
Publication date: May 30th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Eighteen-year-old Charlotte (Jinx), fights her past to chase her dream of becoming an Elite Nordic Airre pilot, yet her rebellious attitude hinders her hard-earned lead status. Overcoming a string of life-altering events and the unwanted advances of Ghost Allen, a smooth talking pilot, is one thing, evading death at the hands of two comrades is another.
When Jinx comes face-to-face with an unlikely ally, she is forced to trust him in order to escape the clutches of those who want to silence her. Can a once broken girl transform her past into an iron will, or will she ultimately crumble under the destruction?

Author Bio:
A.C. grew up climbing trees and spying on her siblings. When not writing, A.C. can be found cheering on her favorite girls at a softball field or sitting in her car reading at practices and eating her hidden stash of chocolate. She enjoys family time, traveling, random road trips, watching movies, decorating, and trying new cocktails. She lives in the mitten state with her husband, two daughters, and their furbabies. Terrapin is her first novel.

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