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It’s HERE!!  Chelsea Fine’s RIGHT KIND OF WRONG releases today! Published by Grand Central Forever, RIGHT KIND OF WRONG is the third novel Chelsea’s Finding Fate Series and is a New Adult Contemporary Romance. Check out my 5 star review below, as well as an excerpt, and make sure you enter the giveaway!

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Right Kind of WrongREVIEW:

From Goodreads: Sometimes wrong can feel oh so right . . .

Jenna Lacombe needs complete control, whether it’s in the streets . . . or between the sheets. So when she sets out on a solo road trip to visit her family in New Orleans, she’s beyond annoyed that the infuriatingly sexy Jack Oliver wants to hitch a ride with her. Ever since they shared a wild night together last year, he’s been trying to strip away her defenses one by one. He claims he’s just coming along to keep her safe-but what’s not safe for her is prolonged exposure to the tattooed hottie.

Jack can’t get Jenna out from under his skin. She makes him feel alive again after his old life nearly destroyed him-and losing her is not an option. Now Jack’s troubles are catching up to him, and he’s forced to return to his hometown in Louisiana. But when his secrets put them both in harm’s way, Jenna will have to figure out how far she’s willing to let love in . . . and how much she already has.

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I really loved this third installment of the Finding Fates series, Fine’s awesome series of standalone novels that focus on a different cast of characters within the same world. While a bit darker than the others with its ties to drug trafficking and the mob, Fine does a great job creating a realistic backdrop, fleshing out the characters, and making readers fall in love with them, past sins aside. This novel also carries a bit more tension within the pages than the other novels in the series, with the threat of death surrounding the characters, and I liked the added drama and anticipation this brought about as I read. Though I will admit I thought some of the situations in the novel were resolved a bit too neatly, I still really loved this novel and was indeed glued to the pages from the get go.

Fine is a magnificent storyteller—I have yet to read a novel of hers I haven’t absolutely adored. Both Jenna and Jack bring a realness to the story that makes readers feel like they’re right there alongside them, steamy scenes and all, and I loved getting to know the people behind the names that are spoken about in the other two standalones in the series. I actually got extremely giddy when I realized that Fine was cross-referencing a scene from Perfect Kind of Trouble, giving us the other side of the coin—seeing events unfold from Jack and Jenna’s viewpoint, already knowing them from Kayla and Daren’s point of view. It takes a talented author to be able to weave together multiple scenes within standalones, and Fine certainly delivers in this swoonworthy, high tension story. Five stars.

5 stars

I received this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iBooks ** Kobo Indiebound ** BAM

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EXCERPT:

Padding my bare feet back into Jack’s bedroom, I start riffling through his drawers like a wet raccoon, searching for something that can pass as pajamas. I try on four pairs of basketball shorts and two shirts before finding items small enough to fit me without being obscene.

I’m not a small person—not at all. I’m average height, average weight. It’s just that Jack’s a giant who, apparently, wears size 100 in everything. Twisting the shirt around my middle so it hangs properly, I absently inhale and smile when I catch Jack’s scent.

What? No. Don’t smile about that, you idiot.

RKoW teaser 6I unclench my fists from his shirt and smooth out the wrinkles I created clutching it to my nose. I’m not like a wet raccoon at all. I’m worse. Raccoons would be ashamed of me.

My inner dialogue—I’ve just accepted that I’m certifiable, at this point—comes to a halt when I hear an engine in the front yard.

Jack.

My first instinct is to run outside and smack him—you know, violent tendencies and all—but I regain my composure and choose a more mature tactic.

I stand perfectly still in the dark living room and wait for him with a scowl.

Through the window, I watch his dark figure stumble out of the car and slowly climb the front steps all hunched over. What did he do, go get drunk? Great.

I cross my arms, scowl still poised to kill, and wait as he opens the door and quietly steps inside. He flicks on the living room light and I ready myself for the shit storm I’m about to rain all over his ass. But my words, my anger, my bitter intentions fall away the instant I see his face.

“Jack.” It’s more of a gasp than a word as it leaves my mouth.

He pulls his eyes up from his bloody and torn hand, and sets them on me. “Jenna. What the hell?” Several emotions cross his eyes. Anger. Fear. Relief. Anger.

I pull a face. “Don’t ‘what the hell’ me. You’re the one who stole my car and drove off into the night.”

He screws his face up. “So you waited up to yell at me?”

“Well…” I pause.

Is that why I waited up? Well, crap.

“Yeah,” I finally say, not particularly proud of my answer.

“Typical,” he mutters. “Listen. I’m not in the mood to bicker with you right now so if you don’t mind rescheduling this bitch-out for tomorrow, that would be great.”

He brushes past me, his shoulder lightly sweeping mine, and halts at the touch. Facing me, he softens his husky voice. “I’m sorry.”

Long eyelashes lower over his storm-gray eyes as he searches my face, and the wicked wildfire inside me instantly reignites as his gaze drops to my mouth.

The thick frustration that filled the room just moments ago thins into a sweet trepidation, curling around us with a daring charge. So delicious. But so dangerous.

I carefully step back and clear my throat. Jack does the same. We’re masters of avoidance.

Without another word, he moves past me and marches down the hall. That’s when I spy the blood running down the back of his shirt from a large gash between his shoulder blades.

My heart stops.

“Jack?” I say, staring with wide eyes. “What happened to your back?”

He looks over his shoulder and frowns. “Oh. That.” Turning back around, he continues striding down the hallway. “Knife wound.”

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Tattooed beautiful woman in old spooky interior

And don’t miss Book 1 in the Finding Fate Series…

BEST KIND OF BROKEN

See my 5 star review HERE!

Best Kind of Broken

Finding Fates

And book two:

Perfect Kind of Trouble: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

See my 5 Star Review Here

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Author PhotoABOUT CHELSEA FINE:

Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She’s ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen.

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** YouTube ** Instagram ** Author Goodreads ** RIGHT KIND OF WRONG Goodreads

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A Secret lifeFrom Goodreads: “I think you and I were meant to meet. I think all of this was supposed to happen. You are my destiny.”

She never thought that her life would be this complicated. Or this dangerous. Running from her past, Kat and her mom end up in a small Colorado town when Kat run’s directly into her future. She changes everything about herself to try and blend into the background, to go unnoticed. She pushes everyone away and erects walls around herself and her heart. As hard as she tries, though, Kat can’t seem to escape the pull that Cam has on her.

Cam has never been so intrigued by anyone. Not only is Kat the most gorgeous girl he’s ever seen but also the most mysterious. She’s hiding something and he’s hell-bent on finding out what it is. The only problem is that she’s trying to shut him out which only furthers his determination to get close to her.

When Kat learns that her past is catching up with her again she has to run, leaving Cam, and her broken heart, behind.

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I read this novel a few weeks back, and it’s stuck with me ever since. While I did find the insta-attraction portion of the novel just a tad cheesy in the beginning, as the novel progressed and the characters grew up, going from high school to college, I found myself rooting for the lovebirds, Cam and Kat, enjoying their antics and so happy that their attraction to one another lead to a much deeper relationship. Brownell tells their story in two parts, glossing over a few years in between in order to take her YA novel into the NA world while keeping it clean, and it works very well.

This novel has many different layers; many stories to tell. It’s about a mother and daughter in witness protection. It’s about first love. About danger. Crime. Grief. Protection. The FBI. Doing what’s right. Outrunning your past, and looking to the future. And I enjoyed this aspect of the novel very much. There is so much going on and Brownell slowly peels back the layers, providing a fun, easy, engaging read, though I will admit that I have many more questions than I have answers, and I think that’s one of the reasons this novel has stuck with me long after I finished it. I find myself trying to figure it out at random times during my days, and that’s a rarity for me as I read so many books and move from one to the next quite rapidly.

I am intrigued by Cam and his love for Kat. I love Kat’s tenacity and her yearning for a simple life. Together, they are perfect, insta-love aside, and I’m glad they found one another. What I don’t necessarily get is what happened during the climax of the novel–we’re led up to it, but as we’re looking through Kat’s eyes, and she’s not watching events unfold, we seem to miss everything as it unfolds, and as no one clarifies the event for Kat, we are left in the dark. All we know is that some very bad things went down, and I’m dying to know what happened to everyone. I need to know. And I also need to know how some of the people mixed up in it all got mixed up in it all. I’m not giving names nor explanations, because that’d be a spoiler, but I keep wracking my brain trying to figure it out. I need to know, and Brownell’s next novel in the series, Secrets and Lies, releases tomorrow… so here’s hoping for more. Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Kindle (only $1.99) | Barnes and Noble



Dark MetropolisFrom Goodreads: Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.

Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder’s mother is cursed with a spell that’s driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.
Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city’s secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.

Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they’re not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don’t always seem to stay that way.

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If you enjoy magical-realism and/or the paranormal set within the realms of everyday life, then I highly suggest you pick up this novel. It reminded me just a touch of the movie Sin City based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller, with the spells and abilities replacing superpowers and villains, though I wouldn’t say Dark Metropolis is nearly as gruesome or action packed. Secrets abound, magic flies, and as the novel unfolds, Dolamore does a great job foreshadowing what’s to come, nudging readers in the right direction as they attempt to figure out just what is at work in the depths of the city.

I enojyed the characterization and the surprise at the end, and am interested to see what happens next in this surreal world full of danger and magic.  Told from the perspective of multiple characters, a writing style that I just adore, I think many will enjoy this series. Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



Opposition RDL Banner

IT’S HERE!!!!  I am so very excited to share with your the Release Day Launch for Jennifer L. Armentrout’s OPPOSITION!

OPPOSITION is a young adult Paranormal Romance being published by Entangled Teen and the fifth book Armentrout’s her LUX Series!

 

Opposition Cover

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | IndieBound | Others via Entangled

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About OPPOSITION:

Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can’t believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.

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EXCERPT:

Katy

I still stared at Daemon, completely aware that everyone else except him was watching me. Closely. But why wouldn’t he look at me? A razor-sharp panic clawed at my insides. No. Thiscouldn’t be happening. No way.My body was moving before I even knew what I was doing.

From the corner of my eye, I saw Dee shake her head and one of the Luxen males step forward, but I was propelled by an inherent need to prove that my worst fears were not coming true.

After all, he’d healed me, but then I thought of what Dee had said, of how Dee had behaved with me. What if Daemon was like her? Turned into something so foreign and cold? He would’ve healed me just to make sure he was okay.

I still didn’t stop.
 Please, I thought over and over again. Please. Please. Please. On shaky legs, I crossed the long room, and even thoughDaemon hadn’t seemed to even acknowledge my existence, I walked right up to him, my hands trembling as I placed them on his chest.

“Daemon?” I whispered, voice thick.

His head whipped around, and he was suddenly staring down at me. Our gazes collided once more, and for a second I saw something so raw, so painful in those beautiful eyes. And then his large hands wrapped around my upper arms. The contact seared through the shirt I wore, branding my skin, and I thought—I expected—that he would pull me against him, that he would embrace me, and even though nothing would be all right, it would be better.

Daemon’s hands spasmed around my arms, and I sucked in an unsteady breath.

His eyes flashed an intense green as he physically lifted me away from him, setting me back down a good foot back.

I stared at him, something deep in my chest cracking. “Daemon?”

He said nothing as he let go, one finger at a time, it seemed, and his hands slid off my arms. He stepped back, returning his attention to the man behind the desk.

“So . . . awkward,” murmured the redhead, smirking.

I was rooted to the spot in which I stood, the sting of rejection burning through my skin, shredding my insides like I was nothing more than papier-mâché.

“I think someone was expecting more of a reunion,” the Luxen male behind the desk said, his voice ringing with amusement. “What do you think, Daemon?”

One shoulder rose in a negligent shrug. “I don’t think anything.”

My mouth opened, but there were no words. His voice, his tone, wasn’t like his sister’s, but like it had been when we first met. He used to speak to me with barely leashed annoyance, where a thin veil of tolerance dripped from every word.The rift in my chest deepened.
For the hundredth time since the Luxen arrived, SergeantDasher’s warning came back to me. What side would Daemon and his family stand on? A shudder worked its way down my spine. I wrapped my arms around myself, unable to truly process what had just happened.

“And you?” the man asked. When no one answered, he tried again. “Katy?”

I was forced to look at him, and I wanted to shrink back from his stare. “What?” I was beyond caring that my voice broke on that one word.

The man smiled as he walked around the desk. My gaze flickered over to Daemon as he shifted, drawing the attention of the beautiful redhead. “Were you expecting a more personal greeting?” he asked. “Perhaps something more intimate?”

I had no idea how to answer. I felt like I’d fallen into the rabbit hole, and warnings were firing off left and right. Something primal inside me recognized that I was surrounded by predators.

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Don’t miss the books that started it all…

LUX Special edition cover

 LUX: BEGINNINGS:

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Barnes and Noble | BAM | Powell’s Books | Book Depository

LUX: CONSEQUENCES

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Barnes and Noble | BAM | Powell’s Books | Book Depository

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Author PhotoAbout Jennifer L. Armentrout:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Author Goodreads ** OPPOSITION on Goodreads

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And make sure you enter the GIVEAWAY! 

You could win:

a Lux Series Basket with Lux themed jewelry

a signed set of the Lux Series

and a $50 gift card to a retailer of the winner’s choice (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound).

LUX Giveaway

Click HERE to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Two Little LiesFrom Goodreads: Lies can be very dangerous and deadly little things.

Almost four years after Laney Matthews survived a brush with death at the hands of Robbie Jameson, she has finally picked up the pieces of her life and started over. She’s made new friends, began dating again, attended countless therapy sessions, and is about to graduate in the spring from Blackburn University. Ever since that fateful night, Laney has tried to surround herself with positivity, and so far it’s been successful … but that’s all about to come crashing down.

When Laney receives news of Robbie’s release from prison, her bubble of security bursts and she begins to withdraw from everyday life. Her friends come to the rescue with a fun winter break getaway in order to clear their heads and shake off the end of semester finals. It’s here that Laney comes face to face again with Brent Lyles, the one true love that got away, and she begins to realize maybe he’s the exact thing that’s been missing in her crazy life.

Something’s amiss at the sprawling rental property though, and when things take a deadly turn, Laney and her friends are forced to fight for their lives. Has Robbie returned to finish what he started years ago? And is Laney prepared to stand up to her past demons once and for all?

The key to her survival this time though will be trust—a feeling she hasn’t embraced in quite some time.

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Two Little Lies is a heartpounding psychological thriller by the ever talented T.A. Kunz; one you seriously don’t want to miss. This novel pulled me in from the very first page and left me breathless at the end. Juxtaposing lighthearted banter with deadly intent, this mystery novel will leave you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the shoe to drop as Laney and her friends seclude themselves on a rental property in the dead of winter. Not all are going to survive the weekend…

I really enjoyed this novel! Kunz’s characterization was spot on, and I found myself seeing a bit of myself in Laney. Although I’ve never experienced anything to the extent that she has, the connection was there as I read of her insecurities and fear that the past might come back to haunt her. A survivor by nature, Laney is a strong-willed character that is forced to face her demons head on in a game of cat and mouse as the weekend unfolds, and as she learns through the many harrowing trials and tribulations, not everyone is who they profess to be.

I loved the characters, and the climax of the story really did have me on the edge of my seat, fretting about the characters and what would happen next. Kunz has created an extremely realistic and, therefore, scary world where evil pursues good, and I loved not knowing who to trust and waiting on pins and needles for the climax and the revelation that I never saw coming. This is a must read for sure. Five stars.

5 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



Strawberry WineFrom Goodreads: Ten years have passed since Tanya Smith’s last summer at Laurel Lake – the summer of Marie. Today Tanya is a confident, successful music promoter – a far cry from the naïve seventeen-year-old who showed up at the lake full of rosy notions of first love, lifelong friendships, and evenings spent sipping strawberry wine on the shore. That September changed everything, and as far as Tanya is concerned, there’s no going back. That is, until a mysterious phone call from Marie’s lawyer brings Tanya face to face with the past. Suddenly she finds herself returning to Laurel Lake and to everything she left behind there. Will the dark secret that haunts the lake break her heart all over again? Or will Marie’s legacy be the key that unlocks the future Tanya gave up on ten long years ago?

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Strawberry Wine is a NA/Adult novel with a splash of YA intermixed as the story focuses on both present day and the not-so-distant past. Revolving around Tanya, a 27ish, put together, self-made music promoter, readers are instantly drawn into her life as the novel opens with the death of her estranged friend Marie, a girl Tanya only knew for one summer during her high school years, a summer that for her is impossible to forget; a summer that changed everything. Almost instantly, the novel jumps from present to past, allowing readers to live through the events of that summer as Tanya begins to fall for Michael, explore the deeper recesses of love, and become friends with Marie, the quiet girl with abusive step-relatives. What starts off cute and carefree, turns jarring and sinister as the summer progresses, and everything abruptly comes to a halt when a few drunken decisions change everything for Tanya and Marie.

Here, the novel once again jumps back to the present, and it is also here that Adams sends readers a curveball, one I never saw coming, but in retrospect, should have. With the death of Marie, Tanya’s entire world is upended, altering the course of her world, should she so accept it, and in doing so, allowing her to go back to those carefree summer days and claim what she lost. It’s a beautiful tale, and I thoroughly enjoyed that present to past to present narration—it’s not back and forth, but steady, almost like a circular novel, but continuing on once it comes full circle to give readers deeper insight into current events.

From carefree to brokenhearted, from on top of the world to uncertain, from safe to vulnerable, this novel spans the gamut of emotions, and they’re a very tangible aspect of the novel. Although the story itself sometimes flows a bit clipped in terms of transitions, it’s well done just the same, and as surprise and fear edge their way into the story, so does the reliance on God—though not preachy. I wouldn’t say this is a religious novel by any means, but when faced with a bad situation, as Tanya finds herself in after the death of Marie, one does tend to rely more on God. For me, this was all a bit sudden, but understandable as the plot thickens, lives are threatened, and a sinister danger lurks on the horizon.

It is said that we write what we know, and Adams definitely does this in that Tanya is a music promoter, as is Lee, and a deadly kidney complication comes in to play—something Adams has also dealt with as a donor. Although fiction, Adams’ own personal experiences come through in the novel, adding validity and giving the novel extreme realism, which is an aspect I highly enjoy in my stories. Overall, this is a very well-done novel—and if you’re looking for an alluring summer read, I highly suggest adding Strawberry Wine to your reading pile. Four stars.

4 stars

I purchased this novel from the author at Martinsburg Chocolate Festival and Book Fair.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



It’s here!  The final installment of Tiffany King’s fabulous Daemon Hunter series, Jordyn: The Final Battle is now available! YES!

JOrdyn TFB

I have finally come to grips with the purpose of my existence. I am a weapon in the battle against evil. Accepting that doesn’t mean I can’t still wish to have a normal life sometimes.
Well…Normal in my world.

My friends and family members are angelic beings, my boyfriend is an ex soul trader, and most of my time is spent training and hunting daemons.

After rescuing my friends from an eternity of torture in the Caverns of Gloom, I may have accidentally opened a gateway to hell, unleashing an army of daemons to run wild throughout the city.

Once again, I will do what I was created to do.

I am the only hope. I am Jordyn.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

AddtoGoodreads

And make sure you pick up book one in the series, Jordyn, on sale right now for FREE!

Jordyn

And pick up book two, Jordyn and the Cavern of Gloom, for just $2.99, too!

Jordyn COG

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Tiffany King new profile pictureUSA Today Bestselling author Tiffany King is a lifelong reading fanatic who is now living her dream as a writer, weaving Young Adult and New Adult romance tales for others to enjoy. She has a loving husband and two wonderful kids. (Five, if you count her three spoiled cats). Her addictions include: Her iPhone and iPad, chocolate, Diet Coke, chocolate, Harry Potter, chocolate, zombies and her favorite TV shows. Want to know what they are? Just ask.

For information on any of Author Tiffany’s titles, visit her blog at http://www.authortiffanyjking.blogspot.com

Where to connect with Author Tiffany

Twitter@AuthorTiffany

FacebookAuthorTiffanyKing

PinterestTiffany King

Blogauthortiffanyjking.blogspot.com

GoodreadsTiffany King

Email– authortiffany@yahoo.com

“Dreams do come true…Dream big.”

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Giveaway

Win an ebook of Jordyn: The Final Battle by TIffany King!

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway here!



Of Noble BirthFrom Goodreads: He Was a Man Who Took What He Wanted. And He Wanted Her.

To escape her cruel stepfather, seamstress Alexandra Cogsworth envisioned sailing far from England…though not as a captive aboard a pirate’s ship. Pirate Captain Nathaniel Kent’s strategy for exacting revenge on his cold-hearted father involved taking a valuable hostage…not a seamstress he mistakenly thinks is his half sister. Yet fate has designs of its own, landing them both on board the Royal Vengeance.

At sea, Nathaniel intercepts and plunders his father’s ships, all the while tormented by his illicit hunger for the tempting prisoner he thinks is his blood relation. And although Alexandra wants no part in this terrifying voyage, to reveal her true identity to the handsome, blue-eyed Nathaniel would invite danger. Not only would she become worthless cargo, but the revelation would surely unleash what she and Nathaniel have been fiercely battling – a rising undercurrent of impossible desire that could sweep them away for good.

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Truth be told, I tend to flock to the YA section of the bookstore, so Novak’s novel, Of Noble Birth wasn’t even on my radar until a review request piqued my interest, and I am very glad for it. Sometimes I miss out on gems like this historical romance because of my gravitation towards YA, and it takes books like this one to remind me to expand my horizons.

Novak’s novel is awesome. It’s not too hot and heavy, which is great for a prudish reader like me, but it does have just enough romance and steamy kisses/smoldering glances to really make it a romantic adult novel, and as one of my first in this category, I have to admit that I really enjoyed it. The story itself is extremely interesting from the very beginning, as readers learn of Nathan’s birth, his missing arm, and his father’s murderous intent due to the “imperfection,” as he deems it. The novel then jumps ahead about twenty years, presenting readers with the now grown Nathan and a new character we quickly fall in love with, Alexandra.

A seamstress, Alexandra gets more than she bargained for when she dons a proper ladies dress in hopes of escaping the notice of her drunken step-father. Unfortunately, she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Nathan, now a rogue pirate intent on harming his estranged nobleman father as much as possible, mistakes Alexandra for his half-sister. As events unfold, and the mistaken identity plays itself out, both of these main characters, intent on a better life, find themselves suddenly falling for one another, a revelation that neither of them can admit, and their snarky retorts and slow dance around one another is incredibly well-written.

I loved being whisked away on the high seas, and I really enjoyed getting to know the characters as well—though a little gruff and unforgiving, they really do work their way into the readers heart. While a little repetitive at times, and a tad long, the case of mistaken identity was humorous and an enjoyable aspect of the novel—one I liked very much. If you’re like me and usually stick to YA or NA novels, I highly suggest giving this one a go; it’s unique and much fun, especially as Nathan comes to realize his mistake and everything comes crashing down upon him. Spanning multiple years, with up and downs on all fronts, Novak really engages her readers; this is not one to miss. Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.  This novel is being re-released on May 27, 2014.

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Spellhollow WoodFrom Goodreads: Imagine embracing your mother one day, then having no memory of her 24 hours later …

That’s how thirteen year old Marie’s story begins in the spring of 1968. Each day her father, James, visits his wife’s empty grave, convinced she was the victim of a vicious bear attack. Marie’s memory impairment forces him to endure his grief silently, constantly reliving the horrifying incident— his wife literally torn from his daughter’s arms, with no trace of her ever found.

But this strange disappearance is only too common within the 220 square-mile tract of bewitched woodland they live next to, known locally as Spellhollow Wood— the last remaining ancient growth forest in all of North America. Even now in 2013, it is a place tucked away in obscurity.

And of course there was no bear attack. With the aid of a mysterious boy, Perion, and a homeless girl named Courinn, Marie discovers the truth about the mother she has no memory of. When she takes her first steps into the woods, Marie learns what still lurks there among its twisted branches and roots, after some three thousand years.

Kept secret for more than 40 years, this is the first account of Marie Meehanan’s incredible adventures. Now in her mid 50’s, Marie has played an instrumental role in allowing her unbelievable stories as a young teen to be told, contributing over a dozen of her own meticulous illustrations, which detail the events that occurred within the otherworldly forest she grew up among in New York State.

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This novel begins with aspects of the paranormal taking the forefront, and as a lover of all things paranormal, it drew me right in.  The tale actually sent chills down my spine as I began reading, and I could just imagine the scene unfolding as if I was there on the cliff overlook.  And I kind of wish I was. It is an unnerving beginning, with the sudden encroaching fog and the disappearance of Marie’s mother from her grasp; Scotti does a wonderful job setting an eerie stage for the reader.

And then the novel takes a turn toward the fantastical, leaving the paranormal behind as mystical creatures—a unicorn, a reanimated knight, vampires, living trees, slaugs, and many other sinister elements—begin tracking Marie and her otherworldly friends as they attempt to find Marie’s mother and the others that have been lost along the way.

Truth be told, Spellhollow Wood is an intriguing story of adventure and friendship, a true coming of age story.  Full of sinister plots, twists, and turns, it is an engaging read, and though some portions seemed a bit long in sequence for me, personally, I believe it will definitely spark the interest of any MG or YA lover of fantasy.  Not only is the novel reader friendly, but it has great themes within the pages, and though some of the characters were not my favorite, many were true to life and depicted the tween mind wonderfully.  If you’re a lover of all things fantasy, then I definitely recommend this novel.  Three and a half stars.

3.5 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Donna of the DeadFrom Goodreads: Donna Pierce might hear voices, but that doesn’t mean she’s crazy. Probably.

The voices do serve their purpose, though—whenever Donna hears them, she knows she’s in danger. So when they start yelling at the top of their proverbial lungs, it’s no surprise she and her best friend, Deke, end up narrowly escaping a zombie horde. Alone without their families, they take refuge at their high school with the super-helpful nerds, the bossy class president, and—best of all?—Liam, hottie extraordinaire and Donna’s long-time crush. When Liam is around, it’s easy to forget about the moaning zombies, her dad’s plight to reach them, and how weird Deke is suddenly acting toward her.

But as the teens’ numbers dwindle and their escape plans fall apart, Donna has to listen to the secrets those voices in her head have been hiding. It seems not all the zombies are shuffling idiots, and the half-undead aren’t really down with kids like Donna…

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Donna of the Dead is a fast-paced, humorous, and intricate zombie novel for lovers of all things zombie.  I love that Donna hears voices, and while they aren’t always specific about what she needs to do, they are definitely the voice of reason, and I just love her inner-monologue.  Donna states at one point, “Hollow-eyed zombies trail behind me like I’m the pied piper of the undead,” a statement and situation that made me snicker as I imagined it, as did much of Kemper’s entire novel as she sets the stage for zombie world domination.

Beginning on a cruise ship, a setting that is sure to capture readers’ attention, as it did mine—can you imagine a zombie outbreak on a ship?  Oh my—Kemper moves her stage to an abandoned high school and its band of misfits as they attempt to ward off the strange zombie horde… and try to figure out just what, exactly, they really are.  I have to admit that I was not anticipating the reveal that Kemper unleashes on readers, but that’s part of it’s allure—I was always guessing what would happen next because this novel really isn’t your typical zombie apocalypse.  It’s a fun ride that begins much like many stories that come before it, but ends on a completely different note—and I highly suggest you pick it up if you’re in the mood for something entertaining and different. Four stars.

4 stars

In exchange for an honest review, Entangled Publishing has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on March 4.

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{February 27, 2014}   {ARC Review} Panic by Lauren Oliver

PanicFrom Goodreads: Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

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Initially, this story started like any other, and while interesting, it took a while for it to build, but build it did, and by the end I was on the edge of my seat in fear and anticipation.  Oliver knows how to pack a punch, and I was taken with this story as the characters went deeper into the game, as their secrets came out, and as the stakes went higher and higher.

While some of the situations in Panic may seem a bit far fetched, I have no doubt that, given the proper setting, they could indeed be very real.  It is said that the brain does not fully develop until around age 25, so it is no surprise that our teens in this novel make many rash decisions—some spurred on by the want of money, others by revenge, and still others in anticipation of finally breaking free of their provincial lives—paying no attention to the risk factor, or thinking through the actual consequences of their actions.  As the stakes rise, I found my stomach coiled in knots, yelling at the characters through the pages as they make ill decision after ill decision, and I just couldn’t tear my eyes away.  As an adult, it’s easy to say I’d never ever play in these games, and I feel that, as a teen, I wouldn’t have either, mainly because I just wasn’t a risk taker, and I wasn’t wild, but there is something about mass hysteria, or the mob mentality, that makes me wonder, just what would I have done had something underground like the game Panic been going on in my town when I was a teen.

I’m not sure how I feel about Heather, Dodge, and all the other characters in the book (and there are many).  Their choices at times drove me batty, but I was rooting for them the entire time, especially as we learn more about the tragedies that has befallen them both.  Overall, I found this to be a great read that I highly suggest to anyone who likes intense competitions and novels like The Hunger Games. Four stars.

4 starsIn exchange for an honest review, HarperCollins Children has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Edelweiss, prior to its release on March 4, 2014.

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The LureFrom Goodreads: From the bestselling author of the Daughters of the Moon series comes a gritty, sexy novel about a teen who is forced to become a “lure”-a beautiful girl who is used to lure victims of gang violence.

Fifteen-year-old Blaise Montgomery lives in the gritty outskirts of Washington, DC, where a stray bullet can steal a life on the way to school. Drugs and violence are the only ways to survive, so Blaise and her friends turn to gangs for safety, money, and love. When Blaise is invited to join Core 9, one of the most infamous crews, she jumps at the chance. Though her best guy friends, Rico and Satch, warn her about the danger, she agrees to be beaten for a minute straight as part of the gang’s initiation ritual.

Now Blaise is finally part of a crew. A family.

But things get only more dangerous when she becomes a member of Core 9 and tensions with a rival gang heat up. Trek, the head of Core 9, asks Blaise to be his “lure,” the sexy bait he’ll use to track down enemy gang members and exact revenge. Rico and Satch tell her it’s a death sentence, but Blaise can’t resist the money and unparalleled power. As Trek puts Blaise in increasingly dangerous situations, she begins to see that there’s more to lose than she ever realized-including Satch, the one person who has the power to get under her skin. With death lurking around every corner, should Blaise continue to follow the only path she’s ever known, or cut and run?

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I have been extremely fortunate in life having grown up in a safe neighborhood with two loving parents that supported me in everything.  I never had to worry for my safety when walking out the door, didn’t need to look over my shoulder at school, never had to know alternate routes to get home, worry about gunshots at all hours of the day, or whether there would be enough money coming in for my parents to pay the bills.  I knew where my next meal was coming from, what colleges I wanted to go to, how I would pay for my education after high school, and that I could obtain my goals in life without much standing in my way.

Blaise Montgomery doesn’t live in a safe neighborhood.  Her mother is a drug addict, her father is dead, and her grandmother works late hours and brings home little money.  Leaving her house is a risky choice, day in and day out.  In order to stay alive, Blaise has to know multiple ways around her community in case the ever present dangers of gang violence close off a route, or two.  She has to know what hallways she can walk down and what stairwells to avoid in school if she wants to get home in one piece, with her virginity still intact.  She worries about her grandmother who works too hard and doesn’t have enough money to feed Blaise, let alone herself.  Blaise would love to go to college, but can barely scrape by in school because survival is on her mind 24/7.  The present is all that matters, and she knows, just like everyone else in her neighborhood, that life ends all too soon.  She’s seen people try to better themselves, try to get out, but most of them end up in body bags.  So what’s the point?

While I have never experienced any of what Blaise experiences, the cold hard truth is that many, many children grow up in this exact environment, and as a high school teacher working on the cusp of the city, I’ve taught many of students in a similar situation.  I didn’t used to know these places really existed, not until I became a teacher.  If you don’t experience it, or you don’t know someone who has, it’s very easy to live in a bubble that just understand that there are many struggling to survive. And it’s a heartbreaking experience to realize that yes, this is real.  Just because I haven’t lived it doesn’t mean it’s not.  And while it’s easy to look down on people in these situations, saying they need to get an education, that they need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, that’s not a reality.  What’s more important?  Education or food? Education or life? Education or belonging?

If you look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you’ll note that physiological needs come first, and then that of safety.  People need to have their basic needs met—food, water, excretion, sleep— before they can move up the scale.  If these needs are met, then safety takes over. Those who don’t feel safe on a regular basis are, therefore, unable to move up the scale.  They’re unable to have true friendships, or focus on family, because the very real fear for their safety controls everything they do and think.  This explains exactly what Blaise is dealing with on a very real level.  She barely has any food—she’s hungry a lot of the time, and she’s scared for her safety.  Her need level has plateaued between Physiological and Safety.  But once she’s part of a gang, once she’s found her “family,” she’s able to move up to the Love and Belonging stage—a stage she’s been yearning to grasp for some time.  So it’s no surprise that she joins a gang in her neighborhood—a gang that literally beats her into it as their hazing ritual to see if she’s tough enough to stand within their ranks.  And it makes me sick, but I’ve found that this hazing experience is another truth in terms of gang life—one I first heard about when discussing life with my students over the past few years.

Within Core 9, Blaise fits in, and now she can begin to work towards self-esteem, confidence, achievement… except being in the gang doesn’t guarantee extreme safety, and as Blaise realizes fairly quickly, there is just as much to fear inside a gang than there is outside of it.  So, she finds herself hovering between the Safety and Love/Belonging stage in the Hierarchy of Needs.  Is it any wonder, then, that Blaise can’t focus on school?  That she can’t foresee herself ever getting out of her ghetto alive, let alone bettering herself and going to college?  While we may want to judge her, especially as the media likes to focus on the few amazing stories of those who “got out,” who “pulled themselves up by their boot straps,” this isn’t that story.  This is the story of the many who are left behind.  This is the story of those who can’t get out.

Of course, Blaise makes decisions that I hat—and so do her friends.  Of course, I wanted to knock “some sense” into them as I read, to scream at them to call the cops, to run away, to do something… but in all truth, why call the cops when you know they can’t help you?  Why run when it will only show your weakness and land you a bullet in your back?  Blaise has more sense than I ever would have in her shoes, and though the going is tough and she’s finds herself in a very precarious situation, she continues on as best as she can.  And that is pure courage.

Originally I didn’t want to pick up this novel.  I was afraid it would focus on servitude sex and the downtrodden woman.  But it doesn’t—Blaise isn’t raped and any mention of sex is more so glossed over.  Instead, what this novel does do is show the very real truth about gang violence and the people who grow up surrounded by it.  It shows the many dangers in life that a lot of us don’t even realize exist.  And it breaks my heart, but this is one intense, powerful read if you really understand the truths behind it.  Five amazing stars.

5 starsHarperCollins Publishers and Balzer + Bray have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this powerful novel, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review prior to its release on February 11, 2014.

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18135479From Goodreads: After ten years of ballet lessons, Jordan Walker has finally landed her first principal role in Romeo and Juliet. Sweeter yet, “Romeo” has asked her to the May Fling Ball at Winston High. But a massive Texas earthquake triggered by the fracking activity nearby tears apart the community and Jordan’s future as a dancer. The Walker family survives the earthquake, but wake up the next morning utterly invisible.

On the run from a military with nefarious plans, Jordan and her family are forced to abandon their old lives and flee to Galveston. It isn’t until she meets Caleb, a blind musician, that Jordan dares to hope again. And the more their secret friendship develops, the more Jordan understands the danger she’s placed everyone in.

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This was a great read, pulling the reader in from the very beginning with a little hint of romance and ballet, only to have the entire world thrown into chaos with an earthquake that releases a purple gas from a research facility, forever changing Jordan and her family’s life.

It never ceases to amaze me when I know something’s coming in a plot line, yet, the author still manages to surprise me, and that’s exactly what happens in this novel.  I knew about the invisibility due to the synopsis, but Stephens reveals it in such a way that it was still jarring for me, even though I was expecting it.  As the reader, we’re given both sides of the coin: how the family interacts prior to the quake, and how they cope after with the advent of invisibility, which was really intriguing for me as I felt like I got to know the characters on a deeper level, watching them struggle and come to terms with their new lives, and being surprised time and time again by the many twists in the story.

Another aspect of the novel that I enjoyed was the characterization, which is extremely well done; Jordan changes immensely throughout the duration of the story, and though at times her decisions, as well as those of her family, irked me to no end, this is what makes Jordan and her family extremely real.  They struggle, they make mistakes, they yearn for what they can’t have, and Stephen captures it all quite beautifully in this well written paranormal read.  It’s so easy, as the reader, to look in from the outside and point out every bad choice a character makes, which is what I ultimately did with Jordan, but when it’s all said and done, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Jordan definitely makes some bad decisions, but truthfully, I’d probably be doing the same if I were invisible and had no one to interact with aside from my family. So, I get it, even though I don’t necessarily like all the ramifications.

The novel, overall, kept up a decent pace, thought on occasion there was some downtime that I could have done without, mainly, when Jordan walks up and down the beach.  She spends a lot of time in her head trying to figure out her relationship, and while this definitely needs to happen, I’m more of an action lady myself.  But, there is more than enough happening in the novel, and throughout much of the novel I was on pins and needles waiting for the shoe to drop because an invisible existence is one that, at some point, must be found out.  Four stars.

4 stars

I received an ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review prior to its official release on September 17, 2013.



hushFrom Goodreads: For small-town girl Blakely Henry, any hope of finding her biological parents died when she stopped believing in fairy tales and Disney princesses. That is, until she spots her boarding school’s new British exchange student, Max Ryder, staring at her. Why would a boy who looks like he stepped out of the pages of a magazine be looking at her? Because Max knows something Blakely doesn’t.

Following the tragic demise of one of Europe’s most beloved royal families, Max has stumbled upon information he thinks may lead to a lost royal heir, and now he is on a quest halfway around the world to see if he’s right.

Sworn to secrecy by his university professor and the headmaster of Lakeview Academy, Max is admitted into an exchange program with the sole purpose of finding out the truth. But will his personal feelings for Blakely get in the way?

When a stolen email surfaces, Blakely and her friends’ lives are threatened, and Max starts to question what he is really after.

From the exclusive rolling lawns of Canada’s most prestigious boarding school to the University of Saint Andrews’ hallowed grounds, Blakely’s quiet, unassuming life is turned upside down. Is she really who she thinks she is? Can she survive long enough to help Max unearth the truth?

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If you enjoyed any of the Disney princess movies along the lines of The Princess Diaries, then you’ll like Campbell’s novel, Hush.  While the story of a lost princess unaware of her heritage is nothing new, this novel presents a different perspective in which no one knows that an heir even exists, but when a young man studying journalism stumbles upon documents that hint at a secret birth, the sleuthing begins.  I liked the fact that we knew the truth about Blakely’s heritage from the very beginning as Campbell sets the stage, allowing readers a birds eye view of everything happening in both Canada and the UK.  As the reader, we are privy to everyone’s thoughts, giving us the advantage of knowing what’s going to come next.  While I usually like to be surprised, I thoroughly enjoyed this omniscient narrative style as it worked well for the story and flowed much like a movie in which viewers are whisked from continent to continent and are able to see witness the “bad guys” hashing out their plans before they even begin.  While I might have enjoyed a more mysterious take of the situation, I honestly don’t think it would have worked as well had Campbell attempted it.

The characters were real in their own rights and I enjoyed them, but I didn’t connect with them on a very personal level as I never felt they were completely fleshed out.  The story also seemed to speed up a lot towards the end, glossing over months at a time, and I’d really have liked to know more about what happened during that time between the climax and resolution.  But, overall, it’s a good story that I think most MG and YA readers will like due to its fast nature and amusing topic.  Three stars.

3 stars
Gemelli Press LLC and Green Darner Press have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read this novel via Netgalley.


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