Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











It’s almost time, folks!  UtopYA 2015 is LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY–and tickets sales for the panels are ending in just a few short days, on May 31, so grab your tickets while you still can!  Trust me when I say you don’t want to miss out!

So, let’s talk about why you should go to UtopYA and what you can learn from your experience there! We’ll even give you some insights to the panels so you can decide which ones will be best suited for you.  Ready?

UtopYAToday, I’m highlighting the afternoon panels for Thursday, June 18.  Make sure you stop on over to Jo Michael’s blog for the morning panels highlights for June 18, and then jump on over to The Paisley Reader and Book Junkie: Not so Anonymous, tomorrow, to see the June 19 panel highlights!

Thursday, June 18, 2-3pm Panels Include:

Is Time Travel Possible?

Moderator: Myra McEntire

Panelists: Sherry Ficklin • PK Hrezo • Robert Scherrer • Rysa Walker

What you can expect to learn:

Join physicists and fanatics as we talk quantum leaps and butterfly effects in this fascinating panel. Learn how to convince your reader without overwhelming them with technical mumbo jumbo.

For: Beginners — Authors

It’s All about the Money…and How You Manage It

Moderator: Susan BurdorfPanelists: Kim Holden • Alison Pensy • Eva Pohler

What you can expect to learn:

You gotta keep track of it all – the cost of swag, the travel, the conferences, the paperbacks, the promotions and advertising, and on and on. This session will help keep you sane and your budget balanced (hopefully). Get tips from accountants and authors on how to keep track, keep up and report it to Uncle Sam without losing an arm and a leg.

For: Beginners/Intermediate — Authors/Editors/Personal Assistants

What a Difference a Year Makes

Moderator: Amanda Jason (C. A. Kunz)Panelists: Delphina Henley • Heather Lyons • Amanda Michelle Moon • Stacie Wilson

What you can expect to learn:

The dramatic effect that utopYAcon has on attendees and panelists is staggering, and beyond our and their wildest dreams. Hear stories of those who got published, those who made new and lasting friendships, and those who made career contacts and connections that have propelled their careers faster and better than they expected. This is your chance to hear how to make the most of utopYA, hear how its impacted attendees year-round to help them achieve their goals, and how you can do it, too!

For: Beginners/Intermediate/Advanced — Authors/Bloggers/Readers/Editors

Thursday, June 18, 3-4pm Panels Include:

So You Wanna be a Book Blogger/Tuber? 

Moderator: Jo Michaels

Panelists: Maria Pease • Chris Cannon • Tammie Zimmerman

What you can expect to learn:

There are some big ol’ perks that come with being a book blogger or book tuber – advanced    release copies of books for review, invitations to events, street cred, income, and more. But first you gotta build your blog, build your rep, build your community and learn the ins and outs of professional blogging, giveaways and relationship-building. Find out from authors and bloggers the right and wrong way to do this blogger/tuber thang in this hot session.

For: Beginners/Intermediate — Bloggers/Authors

The Golden Age of the Book Trailer

Moderator: Denise Grover Swank Panelists: Adam Cushman • Amy Miles • Cameo Renae

What you can expect to learn:

Book trailers have gone from “that would be cool to have” to a “MUST HAVE” for authors. Find out the elements, the copyright laws, and the hooks that can move your trailer from ho-hum to awesome.

For: Intermediate/Advanced — Authors

Why YA Matters

Moderator: B. J. Sheldon

Panelists: Hope Collier • Chanda Hahn • Lauren Miller • Lana Popovic

What can you expect to learn:

With the massive proliferation of New Adult sweeping the market, the beloved Young Adult category that helped pave the way for NA has been left to collect dust. It seems that the writers who helped make it matter are taking a “been there, done that” approach to it, even going so far as to consider it passe and for newbies rather than for the now experienced who are milking the sexy romance book market trend all the way to the bank.

While trend- and genre-hopping can be very good choices — 1.They challenge the writer, 2. Alleviate boredom, 3. Avoid getting labeled into a corner — there are still a growing number of Millennials out there aching to read more Young Adult that represents them.

This session will cover the stigma attached to YA, share findings on why it should still matter to writers and readers, as well as discuss personal experiences.

For: Beginners/Intermediate/Advanced — Authors/Readers/Bloggers

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UtopYA

It’s time!  Tickets for UtopYA 2015 are officially on sale!

Make sure you scoop ’em up stat–this is one event you DO NOT want to miss.  Trust me.

Event Pricing:

Here’s the current** price range you’re looking at to attend–prices go up as we get closer to the con:

==> $90 Earlybird Standard Admission

  • 4-day pass to the UtopYA convention (UtopYACon)
  • Admission to the Saturday Public Signing Event
  • Admission to the Fourth Annual UtopYA Awards

==> $115 Earlybird VIP

  • 4-day pass to the UtopYA convention (UtopYACon)
  • Preferred Admission to the Saturday Public Signing Event
  • Preferred Admission to the Fourth Annual UtopYA Awards
  • Lunch Thursday and Friday
  • Souvenir T-shirt

BUY YOUR TICKET NOW!

I highly, highly suggest you purchase the VIP package, which is what I purchased for June 2015. Having experienced the hotel and now having inside knowledge of the layout, the VIP package is the best deal—you get lunches Thursday and Friday, so you don’t have to fight to get a table at the little restaurant, and a t-shirt is included—which you’re going to want because they’re epic AND you can have all the authors and attendees sign them—EPIC, I say!

But act fast, because prices will continue to rise as we get closer to the con date.  REFUNDS ARE available until April 30, 2015, so act now—I know it’s a few months out, and your circumstances may change, but I highly, highly suggest that you book now.**prices subject to change—I will post updated prices as they rise.

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When and Where:

Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 7:00 AM – Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 10:00 AM (CDT)

Nashville, TN

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And THIS year we have THREE keynote speakers lined up: Denise Grover Swank, Lauren Miller, and Kim Holden, on top of all the other awesomeness and authors that will be in attendance!  You really DON’T want to miss this!

Need to know more about the conference before you commit?  Click the links below to learn more and read real testaments from those who attended UtopYA 2013 and 2014:

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Testaments from 2014:

UtopYA 2014: What You Need to Know and Why You Need to Go in 2015 (a comprehensive blog post including everything you need to know about the hotel, shuttle service, travel by land or air, mailing books, the awards, what to bring with you, and the list goes on)

Check Out What People are Saying on Facebook

A Love Letter to UtopYA 2014

UtopYA Con 2014 – Take Me to Your Reader – Images and Information

Like a Virgin… HEY #UtopYA2014 For the Very First Time

#UtopYA2014 was AMAZEBALLS!

UtopYA: A Fantasy Conference Grows in Nashville—From Publisher’s Weekly

UtopYA Official Website

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Testaments from 2013

UtopYA 2013: What You Need to Know and Why You Need to Go in 2014

UtopYA: A Note To People Who Don’t Get It

Lift and Pull and Tug For That Spectacular UtopYA View

UtopYA: Why It Should Already be on Your Calendar for 2014

Impromptu Cups Song—You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone

UtopYA 2013 and Special Announcements!

Quinn Loftis and Tiffany King UtopYA 2013

UtopYA 2013! How awesome was it? This is how awesome…

Why you should attend UtopYA 2014

UtopYA, UtopYA, UtopYA

Reminiscing about UtopYA 2013

UtopYA 2013: Author Sarah Ross: Inspirational Video

Author Heather Hildenbrand talks UtopYA 2013 Video

UtopYACon…My Take Aways

My Trip To UtopYA 2013

UtopYA Con 2013 + Announcement + Ramblings

UtopYA / Quirky Chick Conference Report

UtopYA

BUY YOUR TICKET NOW!

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Questions, comments, concerns?  Let me know and I’ll do the best I can to answer them, or put you in touch with someone who can.  Also, make sure you check out UtopYA online as they continue updating their site for next year’s event.  See you there!!

 



You guys!  Michelle N. Files writes this awesome post called #ShareTheLove every now and again, in which she features a reader, author, blogger, cover designer, or publicist, and then posts it online with a giveaway; a few days later, a follow-up post about why Michelle loves that person goes live too, and it’s just too cool!  And you know what?  Michelle interviewed ME!  I am so excited!  Check it out and make sure you enter to win the giveaway!

 

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You could Win:

*Any e-book version of MY favorite 2014 reads* (that are currently available for purchase/pre-order) — and you can see all 37 of my top reads in Michelle’s post

*Signed Paperback of Soul Survivor by Michelle Files*

*Random swag pack of awesomeness*(includes UTOPYA swag Michelle collected and swag from RT 2014!)

Make sure you hop on over to Michelle’s Blog and check it all out!



Under Different StarsFrom Goodreads: All she wants is a home, but can she find one…UNDER DIFFERENT STARS

Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home.

Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go.

Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket’s gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own.

When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?

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There really are no word to convey just how much this amazing novel means to me. I am in awe of Bartol’s sheet writing capabilities; her story is so intricately woven and beautiful, drawing me in from the very first page, wrapping me up tight, and transporting me into Bartol’s amazing world of Etharians. So much love.

The characterization in Under Different Stars is amazing. Kricket is a spunky, no-nonsense, strong, capable young woman, and I loved her from the get go. Her response to her situations were amazing and plausible, and I hold her in esteem… where I would have fallen to pieces and given up, she holds fast and does everything in her power to make her own choices and follow her heart. I want to be her when I grow up.

And let’s not forget about Trey. My dear, dear Trey, who is my newest book boyfriend. Swoon. I actually hated him in the beginning; he, Jax, and Wayra were obnoxious and I was angry at them for abducting Kricket, but their humor and true, caring nature came forth as the novel unfolded, and as I got to really see their hearts and understand their purpose, as infuriating as it was, I fell hard for Trey, and his sidekicks are just the best.

This novel gave me ALL the feels. Crying, screaming, swooning, hating, loving. The entire gamut, and I connected with the characters on such a deep, beautiful level. Yes, I hate Kyon and the Etharian ruler, but even so, Bartol did such an amazing job making them real scum—and I just loved to hate them.

And I’m so glad this novel is clean. It’s actually HOTTER because it is clean, and Kricket’s virtue stays intact throughout it all, which made me such a happy girl, because I was ready to ugly cry again a few times when I thought terrible things were going to happen to her…

Speaking of which, I nearly died at 80% in the novel when Bartol wrote in a scene that had me screaming aloud (seriously, my cat was startled and ran out of the room after scratching me); my heart was in my throat and I was so very upset. Thankfully, Bartol isn’t as mean as I thought in that brief by never ending scene that scarred me.

Where is book two? It needs to be in my fat little hands right now. Right. Now.  Thankfully, it’s coming out SOON.

This is definitely a must read novel—scoop it up now, you won’t be disappointed. Five amazing stars.

5 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon.

 

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



Voice of the UndeadFrom Goodreads: Now that Alex is in the know about the deadly vampires that live—and hunt—around his boarding school, everything is different. Putting his talents to use, Alex is training with the Polidorium to become a vampire hunter, just like his Van Helsing ancestors. Sure, he’s only fourteen, but c’mon: This runs in his blood.

But Alex is wondering if he’ll live long enough to succeed. His archnemesis Elle, a vampire whose youthful appearance and blond hair disguise a rage that’s directed at him, is out to get him before a powerful leader called Ultravox arrives on the scene. Ultravox specializes in assassinations, but who is he targeting? As he dodges Elle’s attacks, Alex is on a mission to uncover Ultravox’s deadly plan before his friends and his school become collateral damage. There’s no time to report back; innocent lives hang in the balance, and it’s on Alex to act now—or else.

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Truth be told, this novel wasn’t even on my radar. I’d never heard of the series, and I wasn’t looking for another vampire book to read, but a student brought this to me and begged me to read it so s/he would possibly have the opportunity to read it as part of his/her outside reading project fourth quarter. Out of the 200 books I listed as choices, s/he wanted something that wasn’t on the list. Figures.

But, my student made a case for the book, and to be quite honest, I’ve never seen this student quite as excited about any reading material this entire year; I mean, s/he was only on page 11 and was gushing about how good it was. And the whole purpose of my outside reading project is to get kids interested in reading, right? So I read it. In one sitting. And it was good. Now I need book one.

Yes, this is the second book in the series, and I was a little worried that I’d have no idea what was going on, and in the beginning, I was a little confused–but I read the synopsis for book one and that pretty much put everything in perspective for me, AND, Henderson also does a great job bringing the reader up to speed, rehashing some events from book one without going overboard or info dumping.

And I really liked this story. It’s definitely a novel geared towards males, which is great since I tend to gravitate to books with females leads, and it does indeed blend a bit of James Bond with the whole vampire spectrum. While we don’t really see much in terms of vampires in this novel, they’re alluded to, and the mysterious and ever awful Elle does make a play for power in her attempts to end Alex Van Helsing, so there is that.

But this novel really revolves around young Alex playing spy while also attempting to attend school with the elite. We’re split between his time in school (which I really could have done without–the spy stuff was so interesting, but, you know) and his time hunting down the elusive vampires and trying to gain a better understanding of his hiss and static powers alerting him of danger… and it’s all very well done, and somewhat reminds me a spy kids–and the action within the first chapter definitely grabbed my attention and kept me interested. I will admit that it took me a few pages to get into the story, again, because this is a sequel and I wasn’t 100% about what was happening (we are definitely dropped right in on the action), and because Alex was thinking to himself about school, which was… eh. But as he’s thinking the vampires make his move, and suddenly he’s in the midst of a death-defying race, forced to play chicken with two speeding Mercedes as he maneuvers his motorcycle and… yeah. It’s good. Four stars.

4 starsI borrowed this novel from a student.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



Enchanted HeartFrom Goodreads:

Cassandra Vera never ever breaks the rules.

Ever!

She’s also had a nonexistent social life since her best friend moved to Vegas. Armed with a new set of resolutions, the promise of a hot date, and her adoptive parents out of town, Cassandra agrees an overnight road trip to Las Vegas to celebrate her birthday is the perfect way to ring in the New Year. After all, it’s Vegas, the city where secrets are meant to stay hidden.  Little does Cassandra know the secrets of her own pastare buried there, as well.

In the shadows of the glitz and gaudy lights of Vegas lies a power struggle centuries old. One wrong step and Cassandra could destroy the delicate web of secrets.  Now an enemy she never knew existed is after her and the one boy who may be the missing piece to the puzzle —and her heart— is the one person she can’t afford to trust.

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Mindy Ruiz’s debut novel is a fast paced thriller, full of swoontastic scenes, danger, mischief, and mayhem; all the things a girl like me wants in a novel. Add on a new twist to Greek mythology, a topic I love, and reading Enchanted Hearts was a little bit of heaven. Fun, light, and entertaining, this novel is one you don’t want to miss.

Set in Vegas, I was thrilled to be able to see the sights and hear the sounds in my minds eye as I read, something my unimaginative brain struggles to do on a regular basis, unless I’ve visited the area being discussed, which is generally few and far between. Luckily, my job sent me to Vegas a few years back, and Ruiz’s descriptions fit my memories to a tee, allowing me to almost step right onto the page with the characters—that’s how real it felt to read this novel. This added validity to the story for me, and I truly enjoyed it from start to finish.

The protagonist, Cassandra, is a very interesting character, though I’ll admit that she’s a bit of a jerk on occasion, yet she is intricate and real, an aspect that I really loved about Ruiz’s writing. All her characters are real, even Malory, one who has no saving grace in my opinion; she’s just an awful person, and I really dislike her, wanting Cassandra to turn her back and let her go… but alas, Cass is just a better person than I.

Overall, though, the characters were fun to get to know, and I loved the division of the houses. And while some events are a little unclear for me in terms of happenings and such as their fast pace and quick succession were a little over my head, or maybe I just missed a piece here or there (it happens), Enchanted Hearts really is a great read that I highly recommend, and I’m looking forward to the sequel as I’m sure some of the questions I have will be put to rest there. Four stars.

I received this novel from the blog tour host in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Kindle: 99 cents for a limited time | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

AddtoGoodreads

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Take the Quiz:

Which Vegas House Suits you? http://www.playbuzz.com/mindyr10/whats-vegas-house-suits-your-luck

House Suits Quiz

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 Giveaway: You can win:

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Giveaway Swag

Enter using this Rafflecopter Link 

 

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Author PhotoAbout Mindy Ruiz:

Mindy Ruiz lives in a sleepy Beach Town in Southern California. When she’s not writing, she spends her time chasing after three boys, making flirty eyes at her hunky husband, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Dallas Cowboys, and hanging out at the beach with her very large and loud Italian family.

Her career in publishing started in the 4th grade with a story about a magic, museum-hopping, chair. Now, Mindy writes young adult, new adult, and adult paranormal romance. Her books always include tormented heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of swoon-y moments that will put a smile on your face or make your heart race. Mindy is the lover of a good romance, the underdog and John Hugh’s 80′s teen movies.

When her toes aren’t in the sand or her mind isn’t in the clouds, Mindy loves hearing from readers.

Links:

Facebook  www.Facebook.com/MindyRuizBooks

Twitter  www.Twitter.com/MindyRuiz

Instagram  Instagram.com/MindyRuiz

Author Goodreads  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8282908.Mindy_Ruiz

Pinterest  pinterest.com/MindyRuizBooks

 

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And be sure to check out all the stops on the tour:

Blog Tour Schedule:

July 7th

Book Briefs – Review

Dark Novella – Excerpt

I’ll Read Till I Drop – Review

Random Redheaded Ramblings – Review

July 8th

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Guest Post

Book Lovin’ Mamas – Interview

Deliciously Wicked Books – Review

Between fantasy and reality – Review

A Dream Within A Dream

July 9th

Lost in Between the Pages – Dream Cast

LuLo Fangirl – Review

Adventures in Writing – Guest Post

Home of Writing – Review

July 10th

A Thousand Lives Lived –Review

Chelsea’s Reading Adventures – Review

Typical Distractions – Review

Book Butterfly in Dreamland – Excerpt

July 11th

SassyCat’s Books Review – Author Interview

This Girl Reads A lot – Review

Surrender to Books – Review

A Book Vacation – Review

Girls With Books – Excerpt

Fabulous and Fun – Interview

July 12th

Coffee and Characters – Excerpt

Made For You Book Reviews – Review

Booklover Sue – Top 10: Books or authors

The Book Blog at the End of the Universe (formerly Bookmarks, Spoilers and Happily Ever After) – Review

Cherry Mischievous – Promo Post

July 13th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Review

RhiReading – Excerpt

Not Everyone’s Mama – Review

Bittersweet Book Love – Review

Bibliophile Mystery – Guest Post

July 14th

WTF Are You Reading? – Review

Talking Books Blog – Guest Post

Mostly Reviews – Review

Mother/Gamer/Writer – Interview

 



The Kiss of DeceptionFrom Goodreads: In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

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This novel is fairly intense; although the beginning had a bit of a slow start, as the novel evolved, I found myself completely wrapped up in the world that Pearson has created in this fantastical novel. Lia is a well-written, layered character, and as the story progresses we learn so much about her. She is strong-willed, compassionate, devious, and good-hearted all in one, and getting to know her was an absolute joy. Her plight is one that, while I don’t identify with from personal experience, I completely understand—if you’ve ever found yourself in a situation with no decent possible outcomes, then you, too, will be able to connect with Lia’s thoughts and feelings as this novel unfolds.

Reader beware, tissues are a necessity. I was not expecting it in the least, but Pearson definitely made me ugly cry on multiple occasions as I read. There are some awful situations that leave the characters destitute and destroyed, and as Pearson wove the story, I found myself caring for even those I thought I hated. Thankfully, the novel is not too graphic when it comes to the gruesomeness that is war, and the novel is 100% clean as well, which is an added bonus, but know going in that when you least expect, Lia’s world will come crashing down on you. I wept more times than I can count, but I loved it just the same. Pearson has created a poignancy that permeates the story, and it’s amazing.

In terms of other characters, I found myself falling hard for Rafe almost instantly. It’s the tragic “what if” scenario—if either Rafe or Lia had to have submitted to their impending marriage, none of the tragedy would have ensued, but at the same time, neither would have the love. For Lia and Rafe’s sake, I wish they would have gone along with the pressures of their society in this one instance, but I loved their story just the same. Pearson really draws the reader in with her characterization and pacing, and I highly recommend picking up this novel.

I will admit that the cliffhanger in this one made me angry, though. It’s such a great story, and about 80% in I knew there weren’t enough pages left for it to have a satisfactory conclusion—and it didn’t. We are left with an awful cliffhanger that just isn’t fair—I need book two now. Four stars.

4 starsI received this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.  This title releases July 8.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



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UtopYA 2014 has just ended, and I seriously have an UtopYA hangover. This is the second year I’ve attended the con, and let me tell you, it is beyond fantastic. What do I love about UtopYA? Authors and aspiring authors, publicists and publishers, bloggers and readers, cover designers and cover models are all in close proximity to one another, chatting, networking, eating, singing, dancing… and the list goes on. It’s like one HUGE slumber party for three days (soon to be four), and mixed in are awesome activities, with keynotes, panels, visiting booths, signings, pool parties, an awards ceremony, dancing, costumed karaoke, and even some sight-seeing, should one so choose. I love that it’s a camaraderie of talents where attendees are willing to share their experiences, jump out of their comfort zones, do some crazy fun things, and all the while make long lasting friendships.

This year we changed venues, staying at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville instead of the Scarrit Bennet Center, and while there were a few kinks here and there, as there always are with any first time change of venue, the conference overall was a great success; being all in one place instead of having to travel back and forth between hotels and the conference allowed me more time to connect and network with those around me. And as the conference was more than double in size this year, I needed that extra time to make sure I was able to connect with everyone I wanted to connect with.

Friends

I have to admit that I didn’t go to any panels this year. With over 700 attendees, nearly 60 booths, and over 100 authors to meet, I spent my time visiting the booths and connecting with my friends—many of whom I’ve met online in the We Are Going To UtopYA Facebook Group, and it was absolutely wonderful to not only reconnect with old friends from last year’s conference, but also meet new friends in person. While there were a ton of panels, and I really did plan to go to them, meeting and greeting authors and fellow bloggers won out for me this year, especially as I’m not an author or aspiring author, which is what this year’s panels were more geared towards, so many of the logistics of the panels themselves didn’t pertain to me as much. And that’s okay, because I had so many people I wanted to meet and network with that it literally took me two full days to hit every one.  But I do hope that perhaps next year there will be a blogger track on top of the author track, and maybe even a reader track, since three panels run simultaneously, which would allow for some specifics for bloggers, etc., but we’ll just have to wait and see what’s in the stars for panels next year.

ValPalThe lovely part about UtopYA is that is really is about connections, and we—authors, bloggers, editors, panelists, personal assistants, readers, cover designers, cover model, and fans—ate lunches and dinners together, dressed up and sang karaoke together, danced the night away after the awards together, took hundreds of pictures together, put twitter handles and Facebook pages with faces, and all around connected in a very real way.  It was awesome. And the highlight of it all? Meeting Valerie from Stuck In Books. Up until Thursday, I had never really spoken to Val. I stalked her blog, but we didn’t really know each other. Thankfully, Tiffany King knew we’d be the best of friends, and told us to room together. And I’m so glad we did. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in all my life—tears and snorts were a constant as we giggled, belly laughed, snarked, and constantly fought with the door from hell and the evil bathroom light.

Another reason you should go? A half-dressed cover model might just randomly knock on your door just to see your reaction. Yeah, that happened. There’s a video of it somewhere, but I’m not posting it because seriously, I sound completely and utterly ridiculous. Best. Moment. Ever.

Model Invasion

As you can see, UtopYA 2014 was just amazing, and I cannot, cannot, cannot wait for June 2015, which I believe is actually going to be even bigger still, and even more epic as founder Janet Wallace and her amazing assistants roll out some changes, such as making it a FOUR day conference with an all-day fan signing built in… and it just can’t come fast enough!

So, if 2014’s theme was Aliens and #Take Me To Your Reader, what’s 2015’s theme, you might ask? TIME TRAVEL! The tagline is, “Write Your Own Future,” and I already have the perfect outfit for the awards ceremony… score!

Now, you might have just read all that and thought to yourself, “that sounds great, but I have no one to go with,” or “I’d love to go, but it’s probably too expensive.”  So, I just want to break that mentality right this minute, because I’ve been there twice now, and this event pulls you out of your shell and makes you the center of attention, and you will be so very glad you came.

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Event Pricing:

First of all, the conference itself isn’t expensive!  On November 28, tickets go on sale for the conference on eventbrite.  Here’s the current** price range you’re looking at to attend–prices go up as we get closer to the con:

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==> $90 Earlybird Standard Admission

  • 4-day pass to the UtopYA convention (UtopYACon)
  • Fan admission to the Saturday Public Signing Event
  • Admission to the Fourth Annual UtopYA Awards

==> $115 Earlybird VIP

  • 4-day pass to the UtopYA convention (UtopYACon)
  • Fan admission to the Saturday Public Signing Event
  • Admission to the Fourth Annual UtopYA Awards
  • Lunch Thursday and Friday
  • Souvenir T-shirt

I highly, highly suggest you purchase the VIP package, which is what I purchased for June 2015. Having experienced the hotel and now having inside knowledge of the layout, the VIP package is the best deal—you get lunches Thursday and Friday, so you don’t have to fight to get a table at the little restaurant, and a t-shirt is included—which you’re going to want because they’re epic AND you can have all the authors and attendees sign them—EPIC, I say!

But act fast, because there are only a limited number of these earlybird tickets, and prices are only good for the next two weeks, or until sold out, whichever happens first. Right now, tickets are the cheapest they’ll ever be for the 2015 con; prices will continue to rise!

Refunds are available until April 30, 2015, so act now—I know it’s a year out, and your circumstances may change, but I highly, highly suggest that you book now.

**prices subject to change—I will post updated prices throughout the year.

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When and Where:

Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 7:00 AM – Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 10:00 AM (CDT)

Nashville, TN

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Hotel:

Pricing:

We’ll be at The Millennium Maxwell House Hotel again in 2015. If you click the link to your left, you’ll be taken directly to the Millennium Maxwell House reservations for UtopYA 2015 and you won’t need to enter the code… the group rate is just $105 per night.  If you don’t use the direct link provided, make sure you use this code to get the UtopYA rates: 1506UTOPYA.  Again, the dates for UtopYA 2015 are June 18-21, so you’re looking at about four nights if you come in June 17 and plan to check out on the 21st.

AND, here’s the best part: all you need is a credit/debit card to HOLD your room! No money comes out of your account until you check out (and you can cancel your reservation up to TWO days before the conference with no penalties).  These rooms go fast, so don’t wait!  You can always cancel later if the problem arises.

Rooms and Roommates:

For UtopYA 2014, I roomed with the amazing Valerie from Stuck In Books, and it was epic.  She’s an astounding blogger, and we got on famously.  I was ecstatic to room with her, and next door to us?  Authors Megan Curd, Adrianne Boyd, and Mindy Ruiz!  And the next few rooms? Authors Heather Self, Megan Vernon, and cover model Joshua Sean McCann, and the list goes on and on.  EPIC.

Aliens

In other words, you won’t be alone in the hotel, and if you need a roommate to help cut costs, you can easily find one!  The more the merrier in a room! I’m actually a really quiet, shy person who is socially awkward and doesn’t speak in situations where I don’t feel comfortable (though I bet Val would disagree).  Are you like me?  Then you’ll thrive at UtopYA.  I didn’t have trouble speaking to anyone at all, I loved my roomie, and I hung out with the rest of the people on my floor… all around amazing time.

Yeah, so don’t let the hotel situation stop you from coming.  Need a roomie?  Join the We are Going to UtopYA Facebook Page and easily find one!  Think about it: if you split $105 by two, it’s just $52.50 a night for four nights, a total of $210 plus tax to stay at the hotel where the convention is held!  That’s a GREAT PRICE!

OR, find three other roommates (total of four in a room) for a price of $26.25 per night… a total of just $105 plus tax for four nights to stay at the hotel where the convention is held!  That’s a GREAT PRICE, TOO!  Don’t worry, you won’t be spending much time in your hotel room, anyway, so multiple people in a room, though it may sound scary, really isn’t bad at all.  Trust me.

In other words, PLEASE don’t let the price of the hotel or the need of roommates, etc., STOP you from coming!

Info about the hotel from their website:

Facilities:

Outdoors — Outdoor Pool

Activities — Golf Course (within 2 miles), Fitness Center

Food & Drink — Restaurant, Bar

Internet — Wired internet is available in the hotel rooms for a fee of $9.95 per day, but it is free of charge in the lobby. Our internet didn’t work in the rooms at all this past weekend, so it was taken off the bill for all guests.

Parking — Free! Free public parking is available on site (reservation is not needed).

Services — Room Service, Airport Shuttle (free), 24-Hour Front Desk, Baggage Storage, ATM on site, Laundry, Ironing Service, Meeting/Banquet Facilities, Business Center, Fax/Photocopying, Souvenir/Gift Shop

General — Newspapers, Safe, Non-smoking Rooms, Facilities for Disabled Guests, Elevator, Heating, All Spaces Non-Smoking (public and private), Designated Smoking Area

Charges:

Also, word to the wise, upon checkout, the hotel does automatically add on a $50 a day amenities charge JUST IN CASE, so if you see a pending transaction for a lot more than your bill AFTER you check out of the hotel next year, rest assured that it will be taken off—it’s only a security measure.

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Shuttle:

The Millennium Maxwell House Hotel does offer a FREE shuttle service roundtrip to the airport, even if the concierge tells you they don’t… however, for the sake of time, you may want to go ahead and just book a shuttle service, which is what I did my first year attending in 2013. While FREE is nice, I did spend over an hour waiting for the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel Shuttle to pick me up from the airport (only seats 10), and I spent a good 45 minutes waiting for it to take me to the airport at the end of the conference. So plan accordingly and make sure you head out for the shuttle early, especially if you are under any time constraints.

May I suggest InShuttle… a very prompt service that will take you roundtrip between the Maxwell House and the Airport for ONLY $18 (it will also take you other places, but the fee is a little higher). I used this service in 2013 and really enjoyed it, and I plan to use it again in 2015 to avoid long wait lines for the free shuttle.

InShuttle

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Travel by Land or Air:

If you can drive to Nashville without getting car sick (like I do), then do it!  But, if you’re like me, or if it’s just too far by car, then fly, and by fly, I mean TAKE SOUTHWEST.  Why?  I’ll tell you:

Southwest is the only carrier I’ve found that doesn’t charge for luggage.  This is a book conference, so that means you’ll have LOTS of books to take home.  You could mail them, technically, and spend a lot of dollars doing it, OR, you could fly Southwest, which allows you TWO FREE CHECKED BAGS UP TO 50 POUNDS EACH!  Yeah. <== This.

I flew Southwest again this year based on their stellar service and the free checked luggage.  Honestly, you don’t need to bring much in terms of clothes and such (which I’ll talk about next).  But you DO need lots of space for your books.  I checked two bags for the conference, and one was completely empty on my way down to Nashville.  Hey, it’s free, right?  And it saved me a ton of cash when I left the conference because I checked all my books… my combined weight with books, swag, and clothes was about 76 pounds between the two bags (not counting my 30 pound carryon).  And about 50 pounds of that 76 was book weight.  Imagine the price tag on mailing home 50 pounds of books?  Yeah.  Don’t.  Take Southwest.  Oh, and make sure your carry-on has wheels.  You might want it for the conference to transport all your books and swag (plus, it’s gentler on your body). I wheeled my carryon all over the conference this year, and it was a real life saver. Even though my room was just upstairs, carrying books around is heavy, and it hurts your back. So bring a rolling carryon.

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ALSO, if you have the chance, do what I did last year: On your flight home, if they’re asking people to standby and take another flight because your flight is full, DO IT!  In 2013, Southwest asked me to take the next flight out, which was just four hours later than my original, and they GAVE ME A VOUCHER FOR DOUBLE WHAT I PAID FOR MY ROUNDTRIP TICKETS.  That means my flight for the 2014 convention to Nashville was comp’d; completely free!

In other words, make sure you don’t schedule any pressing engagements for June 22, 2015, and take the voucher on any Southwest flight if they’re offering (free bags, remember), and it’ll add up to some awesome free flights.  I took my voucher from 2013 and paid for BOTH my trip to Nashville AND my vacation to Florida.  For real.  Take the voucher if the opportunity arises.

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Mailing Books:

If you DO decide to mail books, make sure you send it USPS (regular mail) and tell them it’s MEDIA MAIL (if you’re mailing in the USA–media mail doesn’t exist for international mailing)!  I highly suggest avoiding FedEx because it’s mad expensive.  USPS is the least expensive, and media mail makes it even less so. But you can ONLY send books media mail—not swag, so I suggest putting on the swag in your checked luggage as it’s light (and make sure you put any and all magnets in your checked bag—I made the mistake of putting my business card magnets in my carryon and the TSA agents flagged it and were seriously nervous about going through my bag).

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What To Pack:

Wrapped BooksPack light.  You’re only at the conference for four days, and you don’t need to change your outfit multiple times a day.  I hardly packed anything to wear, and I still didn’t wear it all.

What you need:

  • 1-2 pairs of comfortable pants (or dresses)
  • 2 comfortable tops—you’ll probably want to buy the t-shirt at UtopYA, so count that as third
  • 1 pair of comfy sandals (shoes if you want)
  • 1 “formal” outfit for the awards ceremony with shoes and accessories to match (think PROM) and 1 costume for karaoke.
  • Pajamas (we’re talking pajama parties, here)
  • Undergarments (socks optional)
  • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail file, perfume, hairbrush, women stuffs, straighteners, etc.—they have hairdryers in the rooms)
  • ANY BOOKS YOU ALREADY HAVE THAT YOU WANT SIGNED
  • Saran Wrap and Bubble wrap (you will want to double wrap your books in stacks for the travel home so they don’t flop all over the suitcase and end up damaged)   ====> Newspaper is NOT a good idea, though, as it leaves black ink on things and is too thin.
  • Cash for books—some authors take credit cards via PayPal, but it’s just easier with cash on hand.  There are ATMs in the hotel, though, if you run out.

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The Conference: From #TakeMeToYourReader to #WriteYourOwnFuture

I’ve already said it in my opening statements, but this conference is epic.  I adore it and the laid-back nature of it all.  Janet Wallace, the founder of UtopYA, has made it an unforgettable event that you just cannot miss!

In June 2014, the keynote speakers were Gennifer Albin and Sylvia Day! And in 2013, the keynotes were Jennifer Armentrout and Jen Sincero!  Whoot!  As you can see, the keynotes are pretty epic. While the keynotes for 2015 haven’t been released as of yet, you already know they’re going to be awesome. Don’t miss out. Have you purchased your ticket yet?  Do it ==> eventbrite

There were also amazing giveaways to start the mornings, so make sure you’re at the conference on time!  So many people showed up late, missing the opening statements and, therefore, lost out on their prizes!  Hey, more for me!  But seriously, you don’t want to be late for the opening announcements each morning. I’m also hoping next year there are more prizes for the general populace as opposed to “author only” giveaways, as there are indeed a lot of us in attendance that aren’t authors.

Exhibitors

We’ll also have a full day author signing event on Saturday from 10-4 in 2015!  This is a great addition for which I can’t wait! This past year, we had an author signing from 6-9 on Friday, and it was great, but I think an all-day affair will be even better. This will allow even more time for authors and fans alike to get their books signed, making it easier to pinpoint your particular author’s whereabouts because, as I said earlier, it’s become a rather large conference.

And did I mention costumed karaoke?  Because, yeah.  That happened, too. Guess which one I am?

Minion Love

I HIGHLY suggest that you bring as many books as you can TO the conference as many authors only bring limited quantities.  Though, there is a bookstore on site, it also seemed a bit limited itself.

Pre-order links usually come out from authors as well about two months in advance, and I posted all their links on the blog for the 2014 conference, and will do so again next year when the time comes for the 2015 conference—preorders are great because then you pick them up from the author at the conference. But MAKE SURE you write down what books you purchased on a spreadsheet so you don’t forget, especially if you’re buying a lot! Many authors also had deals for those pre-ordering, like extra swag, lower prices, etc., so do be on the lookout for that closer to the date.

For those favorite authors who didn’t have a preorder link, I personally contacted them and asked if they’d have all their books with them, or if I should bring my own for signing, and most recommended I bring my own to guarantee that I have them. Some authors brought copies just for my purchase based on my query too, so they might tell you they’ll reserve some for you, but I definitely recommend double checking prior to the conference.  There is nothing worse than planning on buying a book from your favorite author to only find they are sold out.  So, plan ahead. Books tend to be about $10-15 on site from authors, FYI, and they tend to be cheaper via the author OR Amazon as opposed to the onsite bookstore (at least, that is how it worked this year).

Likewise, you will acquire much swag and meet tons of authors you haven’t read yet.  So bring cash in case you decide you want to buy their books as well—I met so many new authors and after connecting with them and learning about their books, I just had to have them!  Set a budget and plan accordingly.

What else?  Here’s some info from the official website:

From the official website:

An uplifting, collaborative and educational conference for those who love supernatural and contemporary young adult and new adult fiction!

Panels, filled with writers and experts in the publishing and entertainment industries, will have something for established and aspiring authors and screenwriters to improve their craft and advance their careers, as well as FUN panels for fans where then can directly influence and interact with their favorite authors!

Over 100 Exhibitors

Book store on site

Educational and Fan-focused FUN panels

Meet your favorite authors in friendly, level playing field environment.

This conference is for:

  • self- and indie-published authors*
  • traditionally published authors *
  • hybrid authors*
  • screenwriters
  • comic book writers and creators
  • book bloggers
  • book tubers
  • web and graphic designers
  • book cover and author branding photographers
  • book trailer producers
  • book cover models
  • agents
  • editors
  • publishers
  • FANS of all of the above

* UtopYA caters to the full gamut of those on any side of the publishing fence because we have a lot to learn from each other, much we can share and even more we can innovate together.

And you won’t want to miss the Fourth Annual UtopYA Awards on Saturday night, where we celebrate the writers, producers, editors, bloggers, designers and others who bring our favorite characters and stories to life!

With 30+ categories, live music, interactive live streaming and celebrity hosts and guests, it’s YOUR chance to dress up and get down with your favorite authors and friends!

NEW in 2015

UtopYA expands to 4-day conference – Thursday through Sunday.

Two full days of panels, exhibitors, meet & greets, parties and the best keynote speakers will be follwed by a full day signing event on Saturday (10 AM – 4 PM).

Full-day Saturday Signing Event!

UtopYA Idea Exchange:

Similar to the massively popular TED talks, UtopYA gives you the chance to apply/submit your “talk.” If chosen, you could share your ideas on publishing, marketing, community-building, craft, trends, good-doing, and forward-thinking with attendees at the 2015 UtopYAcon.

and more surprises to come!!

Grab your ticket and reserve your room in the official conference hotel, Millennium Maxwell House, now!

REFUND POLICY: No transferring or reselling of tickets allowed. Not for use in giveaways, contests, or sweepstakes. Full refund available up to 60 days from purchase (unless April 30, 2015 comes first). After 60 days, refund minus processing fees available until April 30, 2015. No refunds after April 30, 2015.

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The Awards:

The awards were much bigger this year, and though we had some technical difficulties here and there, it was fun all the same, especially with the cover models strutting their stuff across the runway.  It’s like a red carpet event and it was so awesome to be a part of it, especially as my blog and I were nominated for three awards! As of right now, it’s not a sit down dinner event, but there was a cocktail hour prior to the awards this year, and the hor d’oeuvres were delectable, though you still might want to eat a light meal prior to the awards ceremony. Also, keep your ears open as food may become part of the awards at some point down the line.

Awards

What to wear?  Well, really it doesn’t matter.  Since it’s like a red carpet event, most people were dressed to varying formal degrees—from sundresses to prom dresses, I saw them all.  I also saw slacks and jeans, so don’t feel like you have to dress up!  It’s not mandatory.  The only thing that is mandatory is that you have a good time, and that’s a given.

This past weekend, on top of the cocktail hour was an after-hour dance party as well, which was great fun, and I’m hoping the same happens again in 2015. Again, keep your ears open—updates will be posted as I get them.

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Need to know more about the conference before you commit?  Click the links below to learn more and read real testaments from those who attended UtopYA 2013 and 2014 (more to come as they’re posted by attendees):

Like a Virgin… HEY #UtopYA2014 For the Very First Time

#utopYA2014 was AMAZEBALLS!

UtopYA 2013: What You Need To Know and Why You Need to Go in 2014

UtopYA: A Fantasy Conference Grows in Nashville—From Publisher’s Weekly

UtopYA Official Website

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What else?

Questions, comments, concerns?  Let me know and I’ll do the best I can to answer them, or put you in touch with someone who can.  Also, make sure you check out UtopYA online as they begin updating their site for next year’s event.  See you there!!

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AND–make sure you pick up a copy of the first ever UtopYA anthology from 2014, complete with NEW, original short stories from these authors: Tiffany King, Heather Hildenbrand, Amanda Havard, Amy Bartol, Sarah M. Ross, Tammy Blackwell, Raine Thomas, and C.A. Kunz!

Take Me To Your Reader

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

I’m hoping there is an anthology for 2015 as well!

 



Real MurderFrom Goodreads: When Homicide Detective Cameron Gates befriends Dolly, the little old lady who lives across the street, she is warned not to get lured into helping the elderly woman by investigating the unsolved murder of one of her girls. “She’s senile,” Cameron is warned. “It’s not a real murder.”

Such is not the case. After Dolly is brutally murdered, Cameron discovers that the sweet blue-haired lady’s “girl” was a call girl, who had been killed in a mysterious double homicide.

Meanwhile, Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton is looking for answers to the murder of a childhood friend, a sheriff deputy whose cruiser is found at the bottom of a lake. The deputy had disappeared almost twenty years ago while privately investigating the murder of a local prostitute.

It doesn’t take long for the Lovers in Crime to put their cases together to reveal a long-kept secret that some believe is worth killing to keep undercover.
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Expertly crafted characters and a seamless plotline grace the pages of Lauren Carr’s latest mystery novel, Real Murder, a whodunit featuring Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates from the riveting Lovers in Crime series; lovers of all things mystery will not want to miss this gem.

Carr does a phenomenal job keeping readers on their toes in this fast-paced novel, especially as Joshua and Cameron begin to uncover the truth behind an 18-year-old cold-case. While at times I was certain Carr was making the truth much to obvious for readers, time and time again she threw me for a loop with the revelation of new evidence and motives, causing me to continually point the finger in multiple directions. And once again, though I tried very hard, Carr remained one step ahead of me and floored me with her final reveal of the killer’s identity.

Of course, I love how strong-willed Cameron is, and the fact that she’s just as smart and capable as her husband, Joshua, makes them a great team. And Irving? The fat cat that looks like a skunk? Priceless. Carr always adds amazing, fun animal companions to her novels, and it might just be true that Irving and his antics make him one of my favorites of the novel—and series—as it were.

Complete with many layers, including a little romance, familial grudges, humor, and of course, sleuthing, Carr has created a great read that will leave readers satisfied in all aspects. If you love mysteries, I highly suggest you pick up a copy of Real Murder by Lauren Carr. Though part of a series, each novel stands alone, and if you’ve never picked up one of Carr’s novels, then this is definitely one with which to start. Four stars.

4 stars

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

Amazon

Only 99 cents



V is for VillainFrom Goodreads: Brad Baron is used to looking lame compared to his older brother, Blake. Though Brad’s basically a genius, Blake is a superhero in the elite Justice Force. And Brad doesn’t measure up at his high school, either, where powers like super-strength and flying are the norm. So when Brad makes friends who are more into political action than weight lifting, he’s happy to join a new crew-especially since it means spending more time with Layla, a girl who may or may not have a totally illegal, totally secret super-power. And with her help, Brad begins to hone a dangerous new power of his own.

But when they’re pulled into a web of nefarious criminals, high-stakes battles, and startling family secrets, Brad must choose which side he’s on. And once he does, there’s no turning back.

Perfect for fans of The Avengers, Ironman, and classic comic books, V is for Villain reveals that it’s good to be bad.

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I recently read Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Super Villain, and liked the MG read so much that I began looking for a YA novel of the same caliber, which I found in V is for Villain. This young adult novel is sure to grab the attention of boys of all ages, and I absolutely adore that it’s making its debut at a time when my high school students are enamored with all things Avenger. Trying to get my students to read is a task in and of itself, but with enticing reads like this one, where the focus is on the comic book world of super-powered entities, well, we have a winner.

While I will admit that some of the storyline itself was a little predictable, it is still an attention grabber and I foresee my students gobbling it up. Dealing with the topics of bullying, family values, and self-esteem, the novel also has great themes that deliver a punch, leaving readers with a good message overall, even if our hero, Brad, is a villain.

I thought Moore did a great job fleshing out his characters, and their plights and decisions were well thought out and written in a believable manner (super-powers aside). It is a great novelist to capture younger readers’ attention, and it takes an even greater writer to take a fictional realm and make it a reality for said readers. Moore has done just that, I am definitely hoping for a sequel. I can’t wait to hear what my students think of this one. Four stars.

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

Releasing today:

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



In the spirit of Christmas, and because I think we could all use a little holiday cheer in our reads as the year comes to a end, this week’s picks are festive in nature and each run for .99 cents on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I believe these are permanent prices, but regardless, double check pricing before pressing the buy button. Enjoy! (If you could help give these authors some love by spreading the word, that would be epic.)

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crossCross Country Christmas by Tiffany King

With the holiday season upon her, Jamie Foster is once again stressed about making her yearly visit back home to Woodfalls, still single. Fate intervenes in the form of Grant Johnson, a boy she grew up with, who catches the same flight while returning home from a business trip.

When a malfunction sends their plane crashing down on the runway upon takeoff, Jamie and Grant decide to rent a car and make the nine-hundred-mile drive home together. Ironically for them, anything that can go wrong does as they face one hysterical hurdle after another.

Christmas may finally bring Jamie the gift of love she has always wanted if she and Grant can manage to overcome a few obstacles along the way. Ho-ho-ho!

Find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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christmasChristmas Catch by Chelsea M. Cameron

Two years ago, when Ivy Emerson bailed from the tiny fishing village she’d grown up in to go to Columbia, Sawyer McCallister was the only thing she was sad to leave behind, and she still didn’t look back. But when her mother guilts her into coming home for Christmas, she crashes headfirst into Sawyer, who’s also returned after being away.

Now that they’ve both been dragged back to Saltwater, Maine, they might just realize it’s where they belong. Together.

Find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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vernonOff the Market by Magan Vernon

Etta Davis didn’t have showing a house penciled into her Christmas plans, but with the other realtors already off enjoying their holiday, she’d been stuck with the task. It wasn’t all bad though, the house up for grabs used to belong to the family of her high school sweetheart, Andrew Lawson. Though now dilapidated, thanks to its current owners, it still held the power to bring back forgotten memories and turn the routine showing into something else entirely. Particularly when Andrew shows up, wanting to buy the house. Now Etta must decide whether a second chance is worth taking the house, and her heart, off the market.

Find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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frostedFrosted Midnight by Breena Wilde

Willow needs a sexy Christmas miracle…

Twenty-year-old Willow is a librarian in the tourist town of Bandon, Oregon. During the summer the town is bursting with interesting people from all over the world.
Two summers ago she met Austin. He was everything she ever wanted in a man: smart, funny, and gorgeous. But after eight perfect weeks he left, and she hasn’t heard from him since.

Until Christmas Eve. She receives an email from Austin asking her to meet him at midnight so he can explain.
It might be a booty call, but Willow has to see him one last time, even if it’s just to say good-bye.

Find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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braveBrave by Zoe Dawson

In the season of hope, in the season of giving…

How far would you go for your friend?

Alissa Thompson has been the good girl her whole life. Her uninterested parents don’t understand her hopes and dreams. But this Christmas when her steadfast childhood friend Charlie needs her more than ever, she can’t back down. Crossing the line means being braver than she has ever been in her life. It means changing and growing and taking a stand.

Dakota Gray was brave in the face of debilitating fear. But he lost himself in that blood soaked day and has shunned everything he once knew. Now shattered and broken, he hides out in isolation, his wounds beyond healing. His heart closed, his emotions buried, he’s a man on the edge of self-destructing. Little does he know that courage would be found in another searching for the strength to be brave.

Now snowbound in the Colorado Rockies one week before Christmas, Alissa thought this was about her journey and her friend, about setting him free. But from the moment she meets Dakota, she learns about what real bravery is all about. What real love is all about. But is the season enough, her courage enough, her love enough to heal this hero’s brave heart and in the end set herself free?

Warning: This book is for mature audiences only!
New Adult Contemporary Romance.

Find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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seasonA Season for Hope by Sarra Cannon

Being dumped just before the holidays was my worst nightmare. I’d spent so many years thinking Preston Wright was the one for me that when he told me it was over, I thought I’d rather die than face the future.

I never expected someone like Judd Kohler to come crashing into my life. Literally. He was coming out. I was going in. My face got in the way. You get the picture. It was an accident. Running into him twice in one day, though? It started to feel like fate.

My mother always says Christmas is a magical time of year. A season for hope. All I know is that just when I thought I’d lost mine, hope somehow found its way back to me.

Just in time for Christmas.

Find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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ReturnIf I Return by Sawyer Bennett

Would you wait?

College student, Hope Camden, is relentlessly serious, awkwardly shy and in complete need of taking a walk on the wilder side. At least, that’s what her sister tells her when she drags her off for an impromptu Christmas getaway in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Hope’s plans to keep her nose in a book the entire vacation are thwarted when she meets Jack Freeman, the gorgeous and enigmatic Army helicopter pilot staying at the same resort. What was supposed to be a quiet Christmas holiday turns into a life changing event for Hope and Jack. The only problem? Jack is headed off to war, and there is no guarantee he will come back.

Find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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wideWide Spaces by Shelly Crane

Emma knows better than most that life can change from one second to the next. Mason knows that guilt can make you change so much, that you don’t even recognize yourself in the mirror. When they found each other, they knew that life had given them a second chance.
But can one night, one second, one misunderstanding change everything?

A life together that saved them will become a life they think is lost forever.

Find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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youAll For You by Marquita Valentine

Bully. Tormentor. Lover.
West Diaz has been all of these things to me.
After being gone for two years, he’s back, begging for my forgiveness. And not just my forgiveness… He wants more.
He wants… Me.

Find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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WinterWinter Kisses by Addison Moore

Laney Sawyer used to believe in love and all of the trappings that happily ever after could provide until Ryder Capwell crushed her heart. When Laney is auctioned off as a prize at the drama department fundraiser the last person she expects to trade cold hard cash for her company is Ryder.

Ryder Capwell is in love with Laney Sawyer. One year ago she walked out of his life and took the light of his world right along with her. Ryder would do anything to have another chance with Laney, including purchasing her for the evening courtesy of Whitney Briggs University, and he does just that.

One thing leads to whiskey, which leads to a one-night stand. She thinks it’s revenge sex—he thinks its make-up sex. Things can only go wrong from here.

Find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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warmthWarmth and Ice by A. Meredith Walters

The final chapter in Maggie and Clay’s epic love story that began with Find You in the Dark.

This story takes place before the epilogue in Light in the Shadows.

It’s Clay and Maggie’s first Christmas together but will it be a season of joy or will it only bring heartache?

Clay and Maggie have gone through the dark and come out on the other side. For the first time, they are on this journey together. Fighting for something they both need and can’t live without…each other.

But a long distance relationship is hard. Particularly for two people who are still trying to build something solid on a shaky and troubled foundation. Clay is finally out of treatment and is living in an out patient halfway house. He struggles with what he wants to do and where he wants to go. Questions he worries he will never have the answers to. Maggie is trying to transition into college life and learning how to create a future with someone who is over a thousand miles away.

As the months pass and they struggle with being a part, old insecurities and fears take root and threaten a love that has come so far.

When Maggie decides to fly to Florida as a surprise for Clay on Christmas, she is unsure whether it will be the first step toward what they both desperately want or whether it could possibly be the end of it all.

But with the holidays approaching, Maggie and Clay are reminded that even when the days are coldest, you can still find the warmth and that hope and love are the greatest gifts of all.

Find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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