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Review:Neurotica

From Goodreads: If you find yourself talking to Jayne Dandy, keep the conversation on Star Wars and rubber ducks—best not to mention men, dating, or S-E-X. Because Jayne is fine with the way things are: writer of obituaries and garage sale ads by day, secret scribe of adventures in distant galaxies by night. But her crippling fear of intimacy has made her the butt of jokes since forever, and hiding behind her laptop isn’t going to get her lightsaber lit.

After her therapist recommends that she write erotica as a form of exposure therapy, Jayne joins forces with pen and paper to combat the demons that won’t let her kiss and tell. Unexpectedly downsized at work, she adopts a pseudonym and secretly self-publishes one of her naughty books to make ends meet. When her adorable, long-time friend Luke, co-owner of the popular Portland food truck Luke Piewalker’s, hears she’s been demoted, he insists on hiring her to sling éclairs and turnovers at his side. Her secret must be kept, but sparks ignite between them, sending Jayne and her X-Wing into a tailspin that will either make her face down her neuroses or trigger a meltdown of Death Star proportions.

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This novel is absolutely amazing, giving readers an in-depth look at the indie publishing world through the eyes of Jayne, a young woman who struggles with intimacy.  Jayne, better known to her readers as Jaina Jacen, is an intriguing character who innocently enough begins a maelstrom when her erotica books take off in the ebook world–a feat Jayne never imagined, nor wanted.  Published under a pseudonym and only in hopes of making ends meet, Jayne’s world is turned upside down when the demand for more, including public appearances and signings, become a reality she cannot ignore.  But these books were never supposed to hit it big, and no one is supposed to know her true identity, especially not her family nor Luke, the friend who is really interested in so much more.  This conundrum adds much humor to the novel as it takes off, and Gordon’s writing style kept me captivated from the very beginning.  Jayne is such a sweet, shy character, and watching her try to dodge all romance, while in the throes of writing and publishing erotica behind closed doors, makes for a great read, perhaps more so because it’s 100% clean.

Though I am indeed a prude and dislike heavy sex in my novels, I have to admit that Gordon MADE me WANT to read Jayne’s fictional books just to know what all the hubbub was about throughout this enticing story.  Gordon really does an amazing job keeping readers on edge, snickering, and in love with all the characters as this humorous story unfolds, making it a must read. Especially as Luke is such a great guy.  And perhaps my favorite part is that it’s completely clean. While Jayne does write erotica, Gorgon keeps this NA novel PG, which is exactly where it needs to be to get the point across.

If you’re looking for a hilarious, clean, introspective read, then look no further that Neurotica.  Five stars.

5 stars
I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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Top Ten Movie Scores for Jayne (aka. Jaina Jacen) While Writing:

One way Jayne Dandy deals with the complexities of Life and Related Topics is through her love of writing. (What a *novel* idea!) Though she starts out penning stories in the sci-fi/fantasy realm, her therapist encourages her to try a little erotica to help her work through her intimacy issues. Think of it as exposure therapy, as in, write us a story about naked bits and the people attached to them! But when circumstances of the unemployed type dictate that Jayne find a new way to pay the rent, she decides that sending her naughty stories out into the Big Bad World to earn their keep just might work.

Like many writers, Jayne relies on auditory inspiration—music! What would her playlist look like? Well, if Jayne is anything like me (and I dare say she might be, at least atiny bit), she listens to movie scores. Because lyrics, while awesome, make a writer stop and sing and possibly dance. (I’ve been known to dance while writing. Which means no writing gets done. Just a lot of embarrassment, especially if the windows are open and the neighbors can see in.Although last time I put an open guitar case on the lawn and made $4.85. Groove on, baby!)

The following is a list of five fantastic movie scores with romantic overtones that Jayne—or, I mean, Jaina Jacen—might have listened to while breathing life into her erotic novels:

Pride and Prejudice, Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Leap Year, Randy Edelman

Winter’s Tale, Hans Zimmer and Rupert Gregson-Williams

Romeo and Juliet, Abel Korzeniowski

Twilight Saga: New Moon, Alexandre Desplat

And what about when she’s writing her sci-fi stuff? This list could go on and on. Here are Jayne’s ten favorites:

Man of Steel, Hans Zimmer

Guardians of the Galaxy, Tyler Bates

Godzilla, Alexandre Desplat

Inception, Hans Zimmer

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Jesper Kyd and Lorne Balfe(Never underestimate the awesomeness of video game scores!)

Divergent, Junkie XL

Captain America: Winter Soldier, Henry Jackman

Thor: The Dark World, Brian Tyler

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Howard Shore

The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, James Newton Howard

I LOVE movie scores because they are already a story all their own. Often I purchase movie scores without seeing the films they belong to as then the music molds to whatever I have going on in my own head, in my own fantasy worlds—I dare say Miss Jayne thinks along those same lines. There’s nothing like a heart-slamming chase scene or face-melting love scene done in music to really get those creative juices flowing. And when writing her erotica, Jayne Dandy needs all the creative juices she can get.

Happy reading!

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Eliza Gordon

About the Author:

A purveyor of fictions, Eliza Gordon has excellent taste in books, shoes, movies, and friends, and questionable sanity in the realm of love. Best leave that one alone. www.elizagordon.com

Connect:

Website |  Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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 GUARDIAN is a YA Paranormal Romance, and a book close to author Courtney Cole’s heart. And, it’s Courtney’s birthday! To celebrate all of the awesome, she is making a few select titles only .99 TODAY ONLY! Grab them all!

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Review:

GuardianSynopsis: Sometimes, things that go bump in the night are real.

My name is Whitney Lane. I’m sixteen years old and at first, I thought I was crazy.

I kept seeing shadows move along walls, and hearing whispers around corners, but whenever I looked, there was never anything there.

Until one day, there was.

Our world isn’t what we think. There are things around us, good things, bad things, scary things.

Things that we tell ourselves aren’t real, but they are.

They’re very real, and they’re terrifying.

I’ve been swept up now, in a battle of good and evil, confused about love and what is supposed to be love, but isn’t. I don’t know what to think anymore. I can’t trust my emotions and I don’t know what is true.

There’s only one thing I know for sure.

Nothing is what it seems.

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The idea of a guardian angel is one that I’ve always been curious about. What if everything bad that happens to me happened because something worse was trying to get to me, and the bad is actually a saving grace? What if the losses in my life are the result of a bigger, grander scheme where all the pieces fit neatly together? These questions have been something I’ve found myself thinking about a lot over the past few years, and it really has helped me see the positive in even the most dire situations, and so when I read the title and synopsis for Courtney Cole’s Guardian, I knew I wanted to read the novel.

This is a very well written story that I enjoyed very much, though I will admit that I personally didn’t connect with Whitney as much as I’d like to, but I believe that’s because Whitney and I are actually in completely different places in our lives, and that’s okay. Whitney is struggling—her life began to fall apart the moment her father died, and her mother’s inattention to both Whitney and her little sister, as well as the frustration and sadness that accompanies a sudden death, are eating Whitney alive. Tasked with taking care of her sister, attending school, and trying to keep a lid on her mother’s spiraling depression, Whitney is full of fear and anger. I feel like these emotions are completely just, but at the same time, as an outsider looking in, knowing that relatives are just a phone call away, I had some issues with how Whitney handled some situations. And this is what I mean about being in different places in our lives. What Whitney does, and what I would do, are two completely different entities, and that’s reality. Yet while I didn’t really agree with some of Whitney’s choices, they are realistic and valid, especially as she’s dealing with some terrible situations no teenager should have to deal with, and I really liked the believability of this portion of the novel.

I loved the idea of Whitney’s Guardian showing himself, and his explanations of the way guardians work was awesome and really got me thinking. It was fun learning about his duties and though frustrating for both Whitney and me, I enjoyed being kept in the dark as well, since the Guardian was only allowed to divulge so much to Whitney as the story progressed. These is a decent amount of foreshadowing within the novel as well, so I was easily able to predict what would happen next, and seeing it all unfold was fun, though I wouldn’t have minded just a bit more mystery. Overall, this is a good read; if you’re interested in the lore behind guardian angels, I suggest you give it a read. Three and a half stars.

3.5 stars

I received this novel from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review.

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Excerpt:

Sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real.

Happy birthday to me.

I close my eyes and burrow into my pillow as I try to sleep, as I try to escape this life.

It’s a life I never thought I’d have, a life I most certainly don’t want.

I’m still feeling sorry for myself as the blackness of sleep finally overtakes me.

I don’t know what time it is when I shoot straight upward like a rocket. Something had yanked me from the oblivion of sleep, something loud and shrill scraping my window.

My room is completely dark and I glanceat my clock in confusion.

3:00 a.m.

As my heart pounds hard against my ribcage, I quickly scan every corner of the room.

In the last few hours, dark shadows had migrated onto my pink walls, but they’re familiar, nothing out of the ordinary, although in the night, they seem twisted and scary.

I remain motionless as I allow the sleep-induced fog to clear from my brain.

As I sit, I feel common sense and logic slowly returning.

Of course nothing had touched my window because my bedroom is on the second floor. Nothing can reach it. And there are no trees near enough to brush against it. It was just a dream.

It was only a dream.

I chant it silently to myself like a mantra as I consciously slow my breathing down, hoping that my racing pulse will soon follow. It was only a dream.

But just as I’m calming down, I hear it again.

A high-pitched shrill shriek, reminiscent of fingernails on a chalkboard, scraping down my window. I gasp and pull my feet up to my chest, which is when I notice the temperature.

I notice because I can see my breath.

Timidly, I blow a puff out again, watching the way my breath turns white in the air.

Holy crap. Oh my God.

What the hell?

The sound stops and stillness surrounds me once again, the silence so loud that it echoes in my ear.

Nothing moves around me, the shadows are perfectly still as they twist across my wall. They look like mangled fingers and arms and legs, but they don’t move.

My legs are weak and shaking, but I know I have to move. I have to move off my bed because it feels like something is under it. Something terrifying.

With a leap, I bound across the room, my feet hitting the floor several feet away from the edge of my bed.

The floor is ice cold, as though it had been covered in a blanket of snow.

I’m trembling as I race to the far wall and check the thermostat. Because that’s the only explanation. I must’ve bumped it earlier, I must’ve turned the AC way down.

But the luminous numbers stare at me in contradiction.

74 degrees.

It must be broken. It has to be broken.

My breath is coming in pants now, terrified, anxious pants.

My fear isn’t logical. I know there’s nothing here. I’m the only one in this room.

Or am I?

The air seems to push at me from all around, something dark, something heavy, something real. Something unseen.

My fingers shake, my legs tremble, and then all of a sudden, they can no longer support my weight. I go down like a pile of bricks, collapsing onto the floor. I lie still because I can’t move, because something seems to sit on my chest, holding me down.

The shadows start to move, to slither across the walls, to reach and pull and dance.

I struggle to focus, to see what it is.

But all I can see are the numbers on the thermostat suddenly moving, rapidly counting down from 74 to 20.

Twenty degrees?

The air is frigid as I suck it in, as I try to pull the ice crystals into my mouth so I can breathe.

All of a sudden, there’s a blackness in front of me. It hovers over me, a shapeless mass, sucking in the cells of the air, the atoms and the molecules. It’s darker than the blackness of my room, blacker than the blackest black.

Something is here.

With me.

“Dad?” I whisper in a white puff. Because what else could it be?

I reach out a finger to touch it, and then I can’t see anything else, because the darkness of it surrounds me, bleeding into everything else, even my vision. The shriek is back, screaming into my ears, bleeding into my brain.

Then there’s nothing.

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To celebrate the release of GUARDIAN and Courtney’s birthday the following books are on sale for .99, today only!

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GUARDIAN
Confessions of an Alli Cat
Dante’s Girl
Mia’s Heart
The Minaldi Legacy
Soul Kissed
Soul Bound

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HeadshotABOUT COURTNEY COLE:

Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. She loves chocolate and roller coasters and hates waiting and rude people.

Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.

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WhisperReview:

From Goodreads: The Cherokee believe when a person dies, their soul is reborn. Life is repeated. An endless cycle of lessons to be learned, love to be found, destiny to be fulfilled. For the past six months, in every flower, every bird, I’ve imagined my parents, relieved of their human forms.
Now, after five months at the Skye View Wellness Center, it was summer. A time for parties and friends, but that’s the last thing I want to do. So when my best friend Erin convinces me to attend a bonfire at Eagle Point, I can’t handle the crowd full of sympathetic stares or drunken class clowns who would use my tragedy as a way into my heart – or my pants. The solitude of the woods offers an escape, until I stumble upon a boy, unconscious and bleeding, his pockets stuffed not with identification but with poetry illustrating the beauty of dying. I’ve seen enough death. I will not leave this boy’s side.

Even after he wakes, when the only thing he can remember are visions of events that haven’t happened yet…

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When I heard that Heather Hildenbrand was updating and re-releasing her wonderful novel, Whisper, I was beyond excited. I first read this novel back in 2012, and I thoroughly enjoyed it then. And knowing that scenes were going to change, new events would be occurring, and that the relationship between Hildenbrand’s characters would be turned up a notch had me eagerly awaiting this novel for a re-read, and let me just say, it’s perfection.

Whisper is not like any of Hildenbrand’s other novels; it’s completely unique to her writing style yet still innately hers through and through. It’s a captivating read, tackling the very real issue of grief, while putting a supernatural spin on it.  While Hildenbrand has written many supernatural novels before, this novel has a more contemporary feel, and it’s attention to the tough topics of death and redemption are hard hitting, but extremely beautiful.  Truth be told, not all readers are going to understand Whisper’s feelings or struggle to move on with her life if they haven’t experienced such debilitating grief in their own lives, so it may seem a bit slow to some readers; it’s not an action novel (not until near the end, that is).  Yet, while it does start out slow, that’s the nature of this story; it’s not meant to be a fast-paced gripping novel, but rather one of love and grief.  Those feelings wouldn’t be portrayed correctly if it moved any faster than it does, and I, personally, enjoyed this slower paced novel, allowing me to connect with the characters in a more real, vivid way than action packed novels tend to do.

Dylan is a most amazing character. He completes Whisper in a way that automatically brings a smile to my face, and I just adore him. Hildenbrand did a phenomenal job fleshing out her characters so well, especially Whisper, making the reader really feel for her, and all the characters, for that matter. Whisper’s grief is palpable and her character drudged up some long buried feelings I had concerning my own grief.  Likewise, Taregan caused me to feel immense hatred, and yet, Hildenbrand was able to make me still feel sorry for him in the end; the fact that she actually made me feel for the one character I couldn’t stand is a testament to Hildenbrand’s sheer writing capabilities, and I really enjoyed this story, especially the Cherokee folklore, magic, and overall presence of the novel. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

I loved the changes in the novel as well. Hildenbrand has smoothed over some areas, added some steam, and she’s indeed changed the entire ending to create a more fluid conclusion. And I loved every minute of it. While I didn’t realize it the first time I read the novel a few years back, these updates bring about a real sense of connectivity, and they have strengthened the novel tenfold. If you haven’t read this novel yet, or even if you have, this updated re-release is a must read. Five stars.

5 stars

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

Paperback | Kindle

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Whisperteaser

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Excerpt:

I still couldn’t believe Dad’s good news. Months and months of research. Unceasing energy and determination. I hadn’t allowed myself the belief that it wouldn’t work. There was too much at stake for the animals. Especially Dolly. And now she was coming home to live with me instead of that nasty excuse for a trainer. I’d won!

I ate standing up. The microwave never cooked evenly so the outside edges were hotter than the middle. I didn’t care. I was starved. I didn’t even bother to chew until the fifth bite.

Footsteps in the hall behind me signaled Tinker must be off the phone. I waited for him to pick up our previous conversation, or tell me about some part of his day that I’d missed while stuck inside the walls of learning. But there was only silence. I turned and found him standing in the kitchen doorway, his hands limp at his sides and the most confused expression I’d ever seen on his face.

“Tinker?”

No answer.

He stared at a spot on the wood-planked wall that bordered the breakfast nook. My eyes followed his and I found a tiny cross-stitched plaque that read “Home Is Where the Heart Is” in blue thread. Grandma had sewn it years before I’d been born.

“Tinker?” I repeated. “Who was on the phone?”

“A friend of mine, lives down by Port Creek.” His voice was distant, hollow.

I hadn’t been worried until the moment our eyes locked. When they did, it felt like a tidal wave rushing up to meet me. Suddenly, I knew that whatever he was about to say would be very, very bad.

“Whisper …”

The doorbell rang, its chime echoing through the otherwise still house. I stared back at Tinker. Something final rested in his eyes. The only time I’d ever seen him look like that …

“I’ll get it,” I said around the lump in my throat.

I tossed the spaghetti aside and went to the door, sliding carefully by Tinker on my way. I didn’t want to touch him. It was something about the energy he gave off, and I knew if I touched him it would infect me. He didn’t move to follow.

I pulled open the door and found a man in a dark uniform staring back at me. The shiny silver buttons on his shirt matched a gleaming badge on his belt loop. His hat was big enough that, had it been yellow, this could’ve been a scene from Curious George Goes to Colorado.

“Ms. Whisper Grant?” he asked. His thin lips arched into a frown when he spoke.

“Yes?” I said. Tinker came up behind me. I felt his hand come down heavily onto my shoulder.

“I’m State Trooper Nelson. This is Hefley.” He gestured to another man off to the side, who I hadn’t even noticed, on the porch but away from the light of the door. His expression matched the first man’s. If they were going for gentle or caring, the twist in their lip ruined it.

Nelson consulted a single sheet of paper attached to the clipboard he held. “Says here your birthday was three weeks ago. You’re eighteen now. Is that correct?” he asked without looking up.

“Correct,” I confirmed. “Can I help you?” I asked. I felt the spray of another approaching wave and braced myself.

“Guess that makes you the official emergency contact.” He sighed like he’d hoped for a different answer. “I’m afraid I have some bad news. There was an accident. On the bridge near Port Creek. A pickup truck went over the embankment. The vehicle was registered to a Shawn and Anna Grant. They are your parents, I believe? A man at the scene said he knew you, gave us your address.”

Tinker’s hand squeezed into my shoulder.

That’s the last thing I remember of that night.

In fact, much of the next few weeks and months that followed is still a blur. Including the night I downed a pill bottle full of Xanax and went to sleep. Even after five months at Skye View, I still can’t remember it all. Over time, it’s become easier to cope with the missing pockets of time. To cope with the numbing sadness, the raging anger, the quiet desperation that came out of that moment of loss. But I’m still not me.

Tinker said I lost myself. He said it’s what animals do when the pain of loss is too much to bear. He said one day, I’ll find myself again. A new me, a version who is able to live despite the loss I’ve suffered. I told him that sounds like something Grandma would say. He said he learned it from her, and he’s learning to find himself again, too.

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About the Author:

Author of Across the Galaxy, Whisper, and the Dirty Blood series. I write, read, and fuss at my kids. Oh, and I do laundry, lots of laundry. I’m pretty good at it, too. Sometimes I even read WHILE doing laundry – and fussing at my kids. I’m a multi-tasker.

For more information on my books, release dates, or just general stalker material, um, I mean FAN material, visit my website. www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com. I love hearing from readers!

Likes and dislikes? I love vintage tees, hate socks with sandals, and if my house was on fire the one thing I’d grab is my Amazon Fire TV! (oh yeah, I’m a fan of puns.)

Website / Facebook / Twitter

 

 



Perfect kind of TroubleFrom Goodreads: Sometimes when perfect falls apart, a little trouble fixes everything . . .

Twenty-one-year-old Kayla Turner has lost everything. After spending most of her life taking care of her ailing mother, she just wants to spot a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. So when her late father-a man she barely knew-leaves her an inheritance, she finally breathes a sigh of relief . . . until she learns the inheritance comes with strings. Strings in the form of handsome playboy Daren Ackwood, her father’s protégé. To see any of her inheritance, she’s forced to team up with him. From his expensive car to those sexy dimples, Kayla’s seen his type before. But Daren isn’t who he seems to be . . .

Struggling to make amends for his family’s mistakes, Daren has a life more Oliver Twist than Richie Rich these days. He’s beyond grateful that James Turner included him in his will, but working with Turner’s princess of a daughter to fulfill his cryptic last wish is making Daren wonder if being broke is really so bad. Still, she’s just as beautiful as she is stubborn, and the more time he spends with Kayla, the less it feels right being without her. Soon Daren and Kayla begin to wonder if maybe the best gift Kayla’s dad could have left them . . . was each other.

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If you’re looking for the perfect summer read, then you’re in luck! Chelsea Fine’s The Perfect Kind of Trouble has just released, and with its sexy bad boy hero, the hilarious undertakings that include handcuffs, and a treasure hunt that truly means finding yourself, it’s a sure winner for readers looking for a light, sweet, romance. I gobbled it up, and I loved every minute of it.

From the characterization of Kayle and Daren (mmm, Daren) to the plotline itself, this novel had me captivated from the very beginning. Fine truly is a master storyteller; I’ve loved every single one of her novels to date, and I am excited about the third installment in the Finding Fates series—a series of stand alones that revolve around the same town, featuring different characters. This light read is 100% fun and a quick read because it’s that enticing.  Take a break and read The Perfect Kind of Trouble.  You won’t be disappointed.  Five stars.

5 stars

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

BUY LINKS:

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Excerpt:

“So this is where you work?” She gestures at the closed kitchen door behind me as she approaches.

I step back so she can enter the courtyard then glance over my shoulder. “It’s more like the place where I help out in the kitchen, occasionally,” I say. “I like to cook so sometimes the owner, Jake, let’s me jump on the line.”

She tilts her head. “I wouldn’t have pegged you as the cooking type.”

“No?” I arch a brow. “What type am I?”

“Well the professional lover type, obviously.”

I grin. “That too.”

The teasing in her eyes along with the lightness of her smile does something soft to my insides. This is a different Kayla than the one I was sitting next to at the bar. That girl was stressed and burdened, but this girl… this girl is hopeful and happy.

The only reason I can think of for the change in her tone is the inheritance. Does the idea of getting money please her so much that she’s suddenly this cheerful person? Does it please me that much?

I remember Jake’s comment earlier, about my being happy, and realize with a sinking feeling that yes, the idea of an inheritance has made me happy. Money would alleviate some of my problems and, therefore, it gives me a security in my future that pleases me.

I’m not sure how I feel about money having so much control over my contentment. It makes me sound an awful lot like my dad.

“So what is this place?” she asks, nodding to the courtyard around us.

I look up at the small twinkle lights strung above the area. “Right now it’s just storage space. But Jake wants to make it into a dining patio. You know, so people can rent it out for private parties or whatever.”

“It’s cute.” She walks around, checking out the rose bushes that line the fence and the Tuscany-inspired mural painted against the back wall.

“So where you off to?” I step closer so we’re both beside the painted wall. “Back to your humble abode at the Quickie Stop?”

She scoffs. “Humble indeed. But yeah.”

I glance at the dark parking lot beyond the fence and the even darker streets that lead to the edge of town, and frown. “By yourself?”

She faces me with a cocked eyebrow. “Yeah. I’ve got my own driver’s license and everything.”

I smile at the ground. “Okay, that’s fair.” I glance at the dark streets again. “I’m just a concerned citizen that wanted to make sure you got home safely. That’s all.”

She nods. “How very kind of you, citizen. Would you rather I be going back to the Quickie Stop with someone?”

The idea of Kayla going home with someone—anyone, other than me—rakes down my spine like nails on a chalkboard. I don’t know when I got so possessive of this girl but holy hell. My veins are on fire.

How very unexpected. And somewhat annoying.

I don’t get possessive of women. Ever. Sure, I care about Amber and Pixie but that’s different. I care about them like sisters. I’m protective of them. I couldn’t really give a damn who they, or any other female in this town, go to bed with.

But Kayla?

Hot jealousy darts through my veins.

How very annoyingly unexpected.

I set my shoulders back in a casual manner. “Not particularly,” I say coolly. “I just wasn’t sure if you had a ride or not.”

“Oh.” She runs a finger over her lips. “And what, you were going to offer me a ride?”

I watch the tip of her finger skim over the pink fullness of her bottom lip and my breath hitches. She can’t say things like “give me a ride” and touch her mouth at the same time. That’s just not fair.

“Well I might have offered you a ride,” I say, inwardly cursing as I remember sweet, precious Monique, “except I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to take rides from strangers. And since that’s what you and I are…” I sigh dramatically. “It would have just been a waste of time to ask you.”

She smiles behind her moving fingers and I start to wonder if she’d let me kiss her. My guess is, yes. Maybe.

I want to kiss Kayla. Badly. But the idea of kissing her, of touching her at all, also makes me a little nervous. And I’m never nervous when it comes to women.

Goddammit. Everything about this girl is unexpected.

“You’re so obsessed with us not being strangers,” she says, and her eyes shine. “That can’t be healthy.”

I probably shouldn’t kiss her. We have an inheritance to claim tomorrow. We have shit to follow through with. Kissing her is a bad idea. A very bad idea.

“No. Probably not.” I step closer so we’re only inches apart. “But I can’t seem to let it go.”

She doesn’t move away. She doesn’t break eye contact.

Yes. She’d definitely let me kiss her. I’m sure of it.

My heart pounds and it’s all I can do to keep my nonchalant demeanor in place.

“Is that what we are, Kayla?” I lower my voice with a crooked grin. “Strangers?”

She meets my crooked grin and raises me a tipped chin. Her eyes are steel and sure, not giving anything away, and I suddenly feel unsure.

I lean in.

She doesn’t react. But she also doesn’t back away.

Kissing her is a bad idea.

Her lips part, ever so slightly, a thin seam of wet flesh forming between the soft skin of her pretty lips, and all my reservations vanish.AddtoGoodreads

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

BEST KIND OF BROKEN! (only 99 cents!)

See my 5 star review here:

Best Kind of Broken

Finding Fates

And be sure to pre-order Right Kind of Wrong, book three in the amazing finding fates series!

Right Kind of Wrong: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

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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.

 

LINKS:

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Scare CrowReview:

From Goodreads: Nineteen-year-old Emily Sheppard is losing her sanity.

Ever since her mob king boyfriend, Cameron Hillard, abandoned her for her own good, Emmy has been attempting to move on with her charmed college student life as if nothing happened.

Now rejected from the underworld and left grieving over Cameron’s alleged death, Emmy realizes she belongs nowhere.

Worse yet, she is now keeping a dangerous secret.

After just a short time with Emily, Cameron has lost control over his world.

As he miserably attempts to return to what is left of his life and unravel the mess he has made of the underworld, Emily’s hate turns to desperation. She needs to kill the kingpins responsible for Cameron’s death before they come looking for her.

As Cameron secretly observes Emily, he has no idea of the danger he has placed her in—or that it may already be too late for him to save her.

Scare Crow is a tale of revenge, terror, and love as Emmy and Cameron embark on separate journeys to face enemies, correct past mistakes, and…………..

find their way to their destinies.

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Oh. My. God. While I usually try to maintain a sense of professionalism in my reviews of novels, it is impossible for me to not fangirl a little over this amazing novel by the extremely talented Julie Hockley. I finished this second installment in the Crow’s Row series late in the evening not too long ago, and I have been unable to think of anything else since. My dreams have been permeated with scenes of Cameron, my heart’s desire, as I sleep through the night, and I’m just absolutely in love. In. Love. Not only with Cameron, but with Hockley’s writing style, her characters, the plot, the suspense, the alternating points-of-view, Meatball (at one point I literally yelled out, “Meeeeeeeeeeeeeatbaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!” as I was reading). Every. Thing. I’m in love with Every. Last. Thing. About this novel.

I have been diligently waiting for this second installment since 2012, and let me just tell you, it was worth the wait. Hockley’s novel is perfection. Absolute. Perfection.

In this sequel to the amazing Crow’s Row, Hockley continues the tale of Emmy and Cameron, juxtaposing their stories as the novel unfolds. Bereft and out for blood, Emmy has no idea that her beloved still lives. Neither does Cameron realize that Emmy will stop at nothing to bring justice to those who stole her one true love in death. In a harsh reality where neither can fit into the other’s world and survive, this is a tale of love, deceit, revenge, and new beginnings.

Hockley’s story is enticing—I love the bad boy image, and although Cam is as bad as it gets, a mob king who kills mercilessly, he is also truly good at heart. And he’s impossible not to love. His heart bleeds throughout the novel; forced to separate himself from Emmy in order to keep her safe, and intent on bringing justice to the memory of his little brother Rocco, Cameron bares his soul for all to see in this beautiful novel, all the while maneuvering the underworld in a game of cat and mouse as it all comes to a head between the captains of the crime world.

And Emmy, filled with the hatred for those who killed her beau, is also extremely vivid and real. Her cross to bear is even more intricate and dangerous as she learns that even though she was set free from the underworld, she will never truly be safe, a revelation that causes her to rear back and fight with all her might.

A little dash of side romance, unrequited love, truths, lies, misunderstandings and murder all come together to create this riveting love story; you don’t want to miss it. Five amazing stars.

5 stars

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

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An Interview with Julie Hockley:

If you could devise the perfect dinner date for Cam and Emmy, what would be on the menu/what would they order?

Blood sausage. Blood pudding.

You drop a huge surprise on readers in Scare Crow—what was it like to create such a surprise?

That’s funny because to me, it wasn’t a surprise to me. That was always going to happen. Though I’m happy that readers saw it a surprise!

If you could meet anyone in the entire world, fictional included, who would it be and why?

Rocco. I miss him so much.

What/who was your inspiration for your novels Crow’s Row and Scare Crow?

Crow’s Row is Beauty and the Beast meets the Godfather.

Scare Crow is Pride and Prejudice meets Kill Bill.

Do you have a playlist for either of your novels?

When I’m writing I listen to everything and anything. It’s pretty weird. I’ll be in my car, listening to whatever comes on next and boom! A whole scene comes into play. Then I have to pull over as quickly as possible and type furiously on my phone before I forget it.

While I was writing certain Emmy scenes in Scare Crow and re-editing Crow’s Row, I listened to Skinny Love by Birdie a LOT! That song makes me want to weep every time.

What’s next for Cam and Emmy?

Scare Crow was about them changing. They needed to chance. Emmy especially.  She had a lot of growing up to do and a very short time to do it. Next Emmy and Cam will have a lot of explaining to do. Cam especially.

Are any of your characters based on real life people?

No. I’ve never had a picture in my head of who they could be. They exist only in my head. Fans have sent me pictures that are pretty close, but never have I seen Cam and Emmy and the rest of them exact. Of course, there are pieces of my character’s personalities that I have scooped up from other people. Rocco has a lot of my husband’s immature traits. Hands off ladies!

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Between the publishing of the first edition of Crow’s Row, to writing Scare Crow, to formally editing Scare Crow, to formally editing Crow’s Row, I’ve learned that the more you write, the better you become. I would tell them to read, a lot. Take a critical eye to their favorite novel.

Why do you like that novel? Is it the dialogue? Angst between characters? The way the author describes?

Then I would tell them to forget everything that I just said above and write what you want to write. A fan recently reminded me that, no matter what anyone says about you or your writing, as long as you’re proud of your work, your art, then you can hold your head up high. The rest is just noise.

What is the writing process like for you?

Sometimes difficult. Sometimes excruciating. Often it seems like I can’t find the words to describe what is happening in my head. It’s rather frustrating.

What inspired you to write/become a writer?

I love the feeling of pretending I’m someone else. Don’t get me wrong, I have a beautiful life. Nothing to complain about. So I need to get my drama fix somehow.

What does your writing cave look like?

Ha! My kitchen table. I pick the worse spot in the house. No privacy. Very little quiet. And the weird thing is that I can’t write unless there’s no one around me. My husband will get the evil eye until he is forced to leave the room. I need to pick and stick to a better spot. Unfortunately, my house is pretty small, so maybe I’ll have to go write in the garage or bathroom.

Do you ever get writers block—if so, how do you overcome it?

I get writers block all the time (hello, 3 years to write one book). When it happens, I try not to panic because panic is useless. And then I panic. And then I pretend that I don’t care. That I don’t need to ever write another word. The writer’s block will not get the best of me because I’m breaking up with writing. And then I sit back down and try again, later.

Are you working on any new series at this time?

Series? No! Never again! I’ve always got a few books floating around in my head and notes lying around my house, but I will not write another series. I will keep writing because it haunts me if I don’t, but if I ever publish anything after Crow’s Row is complete, it will be a stand-alone book. Though I need to figure out what a stand-alone book looks like because I thought Crow’s Row was a standalone book.

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Haven’t read book one, Crow’s Row?  Scoop it up now for just $2.99!  You WON’T be disappointed!!!

Crow's Row

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4f337-juliehockleyAbout Julie Hockley:

A former germaphobe and clean-freak turned mother of two, Julie collects enough tears and snot in a month to recreate Slimer Monster from Ghostbusters. Other than playing devoted wife and mama, Julie is the funniest person in the room (according to the 3 year-old and 2 year-old in said room) and can build the most awesome Lego rocket ship you’ve ever set your eyes on (according to her). Oh, and she has a full time career and has also written a bestselling novel. Superhero, or just downright insane?

 

 
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Crow's Row

From Goodreads: For college student Emily Sheppard, the thought of spending a summer alone in New York is much more preferable than spending it in France with her parents. 

Just completing her freshman year at Callister University, Emily faces a quiet summer in the city slums, supporting herself by working at the campus library.During one of her jogs through the nearby cemetery while visiting her brother Bill’s grave, Emily witnesses a brutal killing—and then she blacks out. When Emily regains consciousness, she realizes she’s been kidnapped by a young crime boss and his gang. 

She is hurled into a secret underworld, wondering why she is still alive and for how long.

Held captive in rural Vermont, she tries to make sense of her situation and what it means. While uncovering secrets about her brother and his untimely death, Emily falls in love with her very rich and very dangerous captor, twenty- six-year-old Cameron. She understands it’s a forbidden love and one that won’t allow her to return to her previous life. 

But love may not be enough to save Emily when no one even knows she is missing.

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Hockley has written a truly riveting love story that captivated me from the very beginning! I loved every minute of this novel, even the ending, though it angered me and even made me cry.  Leaving my emotions raw, Hockley has created a very powerful novel, and though the male lead, Cameron, is a crime boss, making tough decisions that occasionally end in the death of someone, he’s hard not to like.

It felt like an entire lifetime passed as I read.  Hockley has really fleshed out her characters, giving the reader a glimpse into their very souls, and I too found myself falling in love with Cameron.  I loved the pacing of the novel, and Hockley’s ability to fit all the pieces of the story together in such a perfect way, though the ending… was like a knife in the gut.

It’s not a mystery novel, but there is much suspense within the pages of Crow’s Row.  Hockley presents different scenarios that made me feel as if the story would go one way, but then it went in an entirely different direction, causing me slight heart attacks as I feared for Emily, for Cameron, for Rocco… I had a lot of pent up fear as I read, sure that something terrible was about to happen.  And it eventually did.  Emily is, afterall, held captive by a crime boss, and though he’s a dreamy, sexy character, he’s also the head of a group of killers.  Bad things are going to happen to some of the characters, and while I think I knew this is the back of my mind, it still shocked me and left me flabbergasted when they did.

There isn’t a happy ending, per se, but it does work perfectly with the novel, though I hate to say it.  The ending just about killed me.  I wasn’t expecting it, and I spent the entire last portion of the novel on pins and needles, screaming and crying because I couldn’t believe the twist the novel took.  This beautiful love story ripped my heart out in the end, but at the same time, it’s worth all the pain.  Upon finishing the novel I felt a hole in my own heart, just like some of the characters, and any author that can make me feel this deeply about fictional characters is one worthy of praise.  Hockley is indeed a literary genius, one to watch, and I am really hoping that there will be a sequel to this novel someday soon.  My heart needs to repair, and I’m dying for things to change. Five stars.

5 stars

Available Now:

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excerpt“I know you don’t believe anything I say, so there’s no point in me trying to defend myself to you anymore, even if it kills me to see you so disgusted with me.

But there’s one thing I do need you to know: I love you Emmy. I’ve loved you for a very long time.”

He turned his eyes to me for the briefest of moments, and I felt a crack in my newly erected armour.

“To have you here with me … I guess in some sick way, for a while, I thought that this could work. Hurting you was the last thing I wanted to do, but it looks like I managed to do that anyway.”

He took another breath. “This place is where I have to be, but it’s not a place where you can or should be. There’s nothing that I can do to change that. I won’t force this life on you.”

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4f337-juliehockleyAbout Julie Hockley:

A former germaphobe and clean-freak turned mother of two, Julie collects enough tears and snot in a month to recreate Slimer Monster from Ghostbusters. Other than playing devoted wife and mama, Julie is the funniest person in the room (according to the 3 year-old and 2 year-old in said room) and can build the most awesome Lego rocket ship you’ve ever set your eyes on (according to her). Oh, and she has a full time career and has also written a bestselling novel. Superhero, or just downright insane?

 

 
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Twelve to MurderReview:

From Goodreads: Two people are brutally murdered in their summer place on Deep Creek Lake. Suspected of the murders, former child star and one-time teenybopper idol Lenny Frost takes innocent bystanders hostage in a local pub and demands that Mac Faraday find the killer. Can Mac save the hostages and himself from the wrath of the enraged has-been by piecing together the clues in less than twelve hours, or will it be a fatal last call at the stroke of midnight?

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If you’ve ever wondered about the has-beens, the child stars that disappear from view, who wake up one morning and realize they’ve passed their prime and they’re not even 20 yet, then this is definitely a story for you.  Complete with murder, mayhem, and a mystery that will keep you guessing, Carr once again delivers a punch with her latest Mac Faraday novel, Twelve to Murder.

Like all Carr’s other novels, Twelve to Murder glued me to its pages from the very start, and while this murder mystery looks like it may be a cut and dried whodunit, Carr’s expertise keeps readers guessing as the twists and turns unfold.

Mac Faraday is perhaps my favorite sleuth of all time.  He’s rational and extremely good at what he does, and I always get excited when another novel in the series releases.  Carr’s novels maintains an air of mystery yet is offset with humor as Farday’s fiancé Archie and his canine “helper” Gnarly come of the scene.  The characterization of all the characters, both stationary and new is always superbly done, and Carr’s latest release, Twelve to Murder, is no different.  I love her attention to detail and the many “aha” moments as it all unfolds.  The fact that each of these novels can stand alone is also a testament to Carr’s sheer writing ability, though you don’t want to miss out on any of Mac Faraday’s awesome mysteries, so make sure you read them all—Twelve to Murder is as good a place to start as any!  Four stars!

4 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review–scoop it up, it’s only 99 cents on Kindle!!

Amazon | Kindle

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

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Book Excerpt:

Stillman Mansion on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

Sunday: 6:12 am

“Austin is back this year,” Olivia said in rhythm with the pace she had set for her power walk.

Two paces behind his wife, Roland took note of the white stone mansion along the chilly lakeshore. The mansion looked closed up. All was quiet, as it was with many of the estates along the lake in the early spring. With each passing day, the quiet was giving way to the snowbirds came in to roost at their summer homes in the resort town of Spencer, located in the corner of Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland.

As the middle aged athletic couple walked briskly on the running trail along the lake, they noted that that mansion was quiet. The only tell-tale sign of change from its winter hibernation was the yacht on the dock in the back. It had not been there the morning before.

“I wonder if Janice will be throwing her week long Fourth of July bash with all her has-been clients this year?” Roland asked.

“I can tell you right now that I’m not going if that loser Lenny is here.” Feeling her heartbeat slowing down, she picked up her pace.

“Come on,” her husband said with a laugh, “Lenny Frost isn’t that bad. He’s really kind of funny.”

“He’s crude,” she shot over her shoulder at him.

He was going to respond that he felt sorry for the least popular of Janice Stillman’s former celebrity client when a black Porsche almost hit the couple rushing pass them and turning sharply into the driveway of the white mansion.

“Do you two ever take a break?” the young man shouted at them when he threw open the door and climbed out of the sports car.

“Never,” Olivia answered with a frown at Derrick Stillman’s apparent lack of self-discipline displayed in the slight stagger in his pace, and clearly having slept in his clothes, or maybe not slept in them, but clearly having worn them the day before judging by their wrinkled and disheveled appearance.

“Well, you can work-out for me, too.”

“Party last night?” Roland asked.

“Date.” Derrick ran his fingers through his dark curly hair. “I was going to come in yesterday with my folks, but when I met Maddie the other day—“ He let out a cocky laugh. “Well, you know how it is.”

“I can imagine,” Olivia said in a bland tone.

“She’s got a body to die for and she’s crazy about me.” With a swagger in his walk, he made his way to the front door.

“Come along, Roland,” Olivia ordered.

The couple continued on their way. They had only made it to the other end of the property before Derrick’s screams stopped them. The young man was running out the front door and dropped to his knees in the yard when they made it back to the driveway.

Olivia rushed over to the young man, who had his face buried in his hands. “Cliff, what’s wrong?”

Shrieking, the young man pointed to the door.

Roland ran inside.

“What happened, Derrick?” she demanded to know. “What’s going on? What’s in there?”

His face white, Roland came running back outside.

Olivia’s heartbeat was racing. “Roland …”

“They’re dead,” he said in a panicked tone while taking his cell phone out of his pocket. “Both of them. Janice and Austin. I can’t believe this would happen here … in Spencer.”

“Who—“ she asked with tears in her eyes.

“Janice wrote something in her blood—” He stopped to turn his attention to the cell phone. “I’d like to report two murders.”

“Her killer,” Derrick spat out. “I saw it, too. Lenny. Why else would Mom have written out his name in her blood while she was dying? Lenny Frost did it. He killed my parents.”

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lauren About the Author:

Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Twelve to Murder is the seventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder. Dead on Ice (A Lovers in Crime Mystery) was released September 2012. The second installment, Real Murder will be out in 2014.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit her author website at www.mysterylady.net.

 Connect & Socialize!

Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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Twelve to Murder Tour Page:

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Lost GirlFrom Goodreads: Juniper Lynch has a flair for all things psychic – a gift she inherited from her dearly departed granny.

When her best friend, Gena needs help finding her missing retainer, Juniper is quick to try scrying, aka crystal-gazing. With no crystal ball handy, she goes the easy route and gazes into a glass of water. But the image that appears is not what she expected. The shriveled face of a missing girl floats to the surface. Juniper is seized by a mystical connection and the countdown clock begins.

Can she find the lost girl before they both wither away?

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As the first in the series, this story almost feels a bit too perfect.  Everything clicks into to place so easily, and the characters are too sweet or perfect for them to seem valid and real at this point. There really weren’t any problems or issues to contend with within the story itself—the girls don’t know whether they believe Juniper’s vision or not—so though Juniper and her friends are looking for the girl who seems to be in immense danger, there isn’t much standing in their way besides their own disbelief in the fact that they might be able to find her.

This was good story, though short, about 60 pages, so readers don’t really get much connection time with the characters. Though as the first in a series of novellettes yet to come, I assume that we’ll be seeing these girls again and probably learning more about them.  Thus, there’s hope for more of a connection, and I’m looking forward to the next novellette as this was well written and did spark my interest.  After since we’re just now getting to know the heroines, I’m assuming that the next installment will hopefully be a little more climactic.  Regardless, if you’re looking for something light to read, I suggest picking this up.  Three stars.

3 stars

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

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Returning to ShoreFrom Goodreads: Her mother’s third marriage is only hours old when all hope for Clare’s fifteenth summer fades. Before she knows it, Clare is whisked away to some ancient cottage on a tiny marsh island on Cape Cod to spend the summer with her father – a man she hasn’t seen since she was three. Clare’s biological father barely talks, and when he does, he obsesses about endangered turtles. The first teenager Clare meets on the Cape confirms that her father is known as the town crazy person. But there’s something undeniably magical about the marsh and the islanda connection to Clares past that runs deeper than memory. Even her father’s beloved turtles hold unexpected surprises. As Clare’s father begins to reveal more about himself and his own struggle, Clare’s summer becomes less of an exile and more of a return home.

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This is a very short read–I think it took me about two hours to devour, and I liked it, but truth be told, I don’t really feel one way or another about it. The storyline is well written, the characters are believable, and it’s a cute coming of age story, but overall, there just isn’t a whole lot to it. Our main character, Clare, is finding herself while at the same time finding her father, a main she doesn’t remember and doesn’t really know, and in a way, I felt like this aspect of the novel was more so trying to make a statement about homosexuality than anything else. I felt like this part was a little forced, but it worked with the plot and kind of was, just there. I don’t mind it one way or another, but it almost felt like there was an agenda to be had here.

Regardless, it’s a cute enough story and is short enough it can be read in one sitting, though I won’t say I really connected with any of the characters, or turtles.  If you’re looking for a shorter read or love animals, then this is the novel for you. Three stars.

3 stars

Lerner Publishing Group and Carolrhoda Lab have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on March 1, 2014, in exchange for an honest review.

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Double ClutchFrom Goodreads: What happens when you fall in love with the perfect guy… twice… in one day?

Brenna Blixen spent her freshman year homeschooling in Denmark; now that she’s back in the States, she’s determined to make her sophomore year unforgettable. And by unforgettable, she imagined awesome classes, fun friendships, and maybe a little romance.

What she got was a whole lot of romance, and all at once.

The same day that dark, brooding Saxon Maclean charmed her with his killer good looks and whip-smart wit, Jake Kelly stole her breath away with his heart-wrenching smile and intelligent, thoughtful focus.

But Saxon is a proud player who makes it clear that he doesn’t know why he can’t get Brenna off of his mind and out of his system, and Jake’s sweet and humble attitude hides a secret past life that might be more darker and more complex than Brenna’s willing to handle.

Complicating the matter is the fact that Saxon and Jake were once best friends and are now arch-enemies… and the more Brenna finds out about their connection to each other, the more intrigued and worried she becomes.

Between keeping the peace with her lovingly over-protective parents, designing t-shirts for her high school’s rising punk band, keeping up her grades in both academic and technical high school, and running the track like a maniac, Brenna has enough to worry about with out juggling two guys who make her heart thud and drive her crazy all at once.

She has to make a choice. But how can she when giving her heart to one of them might mean breaking the other’s?
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I started out really liking this novel. It’s very well written and it definitely holds reader attention, however, as the plot thickened, I found myself becoming more and more disgusted with the main character, Brenna, due to her actions. Her tantrums over her boyfriend Jake, and her inability to stay away from Saxon, made me lose a lot of respect for her… I just felt like she wasn’t making wise choices and was ultimately becoming a playgirl.  Add to that her ridiculous tantrum about sex when Jake asked her to respect his wishes and slow down, and well, her immature attitude just sent my head spinning.

Brenna’s constant sense of secrecy and the fact that she falls in “love” so quickly, within 3-4 weeks, also rubbed me the wrong way. The first time she tells Jake she loves him is after a sexual escapade, and in truth, I just felt like she was a bratty young woman concerned only about herself, confusing love with lust. I do understand the teenage mind and how easy it is to get wrapped up in these types of feelings, misconstruing signals, but the way Brenna handled herself and dealt with her feelings left me shaking my head on many an occasion.  The fact that she’s a very real portrayal of the teenage mind adds validity to it all, but also scares me just a bit…

And yet, I was drawn to the story as I watched her continually do petty and immature things, and I did like the novel, overall–I just didn’t like the main character, and for me, that’s a huge part of my books.  I almost felt like Brenna was a train wreck and I just couldn’t look away which, in the end, made for a fairly interesting read.  It’s definitely worth the read; even though I wasn’t a fan of Brenna doesn’t mean you won’t be… and although I really didn’t like her, I did enjoy Jake and Saxon—they are two beautiful young men and I just adored them and their tolerance of Brenna’s craziness; they definitely help make the story.  Three stars.

3 stars

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

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16160797From Goodreads: A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide.

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, thelegendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

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As I was reading this novel, I couldn’t help but think of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  In my mind, Cormoran Strike is Eddie Valiant (i.e. Bob Hoskins), living in his office, drinking his life away, and not doing very much of anything.  But here’s the thing: I didn’t like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and I didn’t care for The Cuckoo’s Calling much, either.  For one thing, the novel is extremely long (500 pages long), and not much happened to keep my interest.

Strike has no money and no place to live, so he’s staying at his office. He hires a temp secretary who really likes the job and decides stays a while, even though she might not get paid much (this is a side story that, in my mind, really had nothing to do with anything). A model throws herself from her balcony, and her brother hires Strike to investigate. What ensues is an investigation that is long, long, long, without much of anything happening. Strike interviews many people—some who are suspects, and some who aren’t—but no one seems to know what really happened, and the police want to close the case. Yep. That’s about it.

I just wasn’t interested throughout much of the novel, which is a shame because I absolutely adored the Harry Potter Series.  However, this adult fiction novel just didn’t do anything for me.  I didn’t care about any of the characters, especially the model who died; her hang-ups and “whoa is me” attitude about being adopted actually put a very bad taste in my mouth, mainly because I’m adopted and I’m so tired of people making adoption out to be such a terrible thing.  It’s not, yet books and movies continue to depict it as a crushing “event” that will ruin the child’s psyche and make him/her dysfunctional in the world, and I have to disagree.  Adoption doesn’t do that.  Bad parenting does, as is evidenced by her crazy adoptive parents.  Where was the screening process here?

But, I will hold my rant.  All in all, this novel just wasn’t all that interesting.  But neither was Who Framed Roger Rabbit… so, different strokes for different folks.  I’m thinking that if you enjoyed that movie, you may like this novel; it’s just not for me. Two stars.

2 stars

I borrowed this novel from the library.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble



17666743From Goodreads: When sixteen-year-old, Dusty Vermeer, moves to rural Iowa with her dad and sister at the start of her sophomore year, she undergoes major life changes – a new school, new friends, and a popular new boyfriend. But she soon discovers all is not what it appears to be. When Jack Olson, a handsome young soldier, begins to invade her dreams each night, she bears witness to the horrors of war and must determine what is real and what is just a dream. When Jack finally steps out of her dreams in ghostly form, begging for help and struggling to remember his life, Dusty makes it her mission to solve the mystery behind his death. As she draws closer to the truth, she places her own life at risk while struggling to cope with the feelings she develops for the soldier who’s been dead for nearly 60 years.

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This was a great mystery novel.  It’s fairly short and to the point, making it a fast paced read that you won’t want to put down.  Dusty is a great character that is easy to fall in love with, especially because she’s so innocent and genuine.  She really wants to do right by others, and I loved that about her.  I easily related to her, though we’re vastly different, and though she’s technically a story-book character, I think we’d be great friends in real life.  Finishing the novel was like leaving a friend behind, and I can’t wait for the next installment in this intriguing series.

Though I figured out the truth about Jack Olson much sooner than I’d have liked, Sheldon does a wonderful job keeping the reader interested, especially with its epic conclusion.  My heart was definitely in my throat as I read through to the end—I could see it all unfold in slow motion, even though I was tearing through the pages at warp speed by that point.

This is a great read that I think readers from all walks of life will enjoy.  I highly suggest picking it up.  Four stars.

4 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble



17887925From Goodreads: Perfect people aren’t just born. They’re made.

The first time she is blindfolded and kidnapped, star-athlete and posh boarding school newbie Sadie is terrified. She wakes up in a dark room surrounded by hushed whispers, hooded strangers, and a mysterious voice whispering not-so-sweet nothings in her ear.

But once the robes come off, she realizes it’s just an elaborate prank designed to induct her into the group that’s been pulling the strings at Keating Hall for generations. The circle has it all–incredible connections; fabulous parties; and, of course, an in with the brother society’s gorgeous pledges.

The instant popularity is enough to make Sadie forget about the unexplained marks on her body, the creepy ceremonial rituals, and the incident that befell one of her teammates the year before. So the next time Sadie is kidnapped, she isn’t scared, but she should be. The worst of Keating Hall is yet to come.

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Sadie has just received a scholarship to the prestigious Keating Hall, the boarding school of the elite.  It sounds innocent enough, but the real reason behind the scholarship has yet to be revealed, and Sadie has no idea what she’s about to get herself into as she accepts the lavish gifts bestowed upon her, or how it all relates back to her dead mother…

I went in to this novel thinking that it would be similar to other novels I’ve read that have to do with secret societies, and while it is, in a way, it’s also vastly different.  I can’t say much more than that without giving away pieces of the plotline, but know that this society delves deep in its sinister plans, especially when it comes to the lives of its members.

I really like Sadie, though she drove me a bit nuts at times.  I do understand being sworn to secrecy, but I also understand gut feelings, and if something just doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  In other words, it’s better to tell someone than to try and go it alone.  Sadie struggles with this throughout the entire novel, which actually makes her extremely real.  Working with high school students, I see this often—many teens would rather go it alone or tell someone their age than deal with an adult, which fits Sadie’s M.O. exactly.  I loved that she was snarky and real, but as the story went on, some of it did seem a bit far-fetched to me.  Now, I’m also not rolling in money and I’m not famous, so it is quite possible that the people Sadie runs with do have the means to do much of what they do in the novel, but as a regular everyday person, I still feel like some of it is just beyond real.  I mean, if I was Sadie, I wouldn’t have been able to do some of those things… but that’s okay, because regardless, the story itself was extremely interesting and I enjoyed it overall.  And if you’re even the tiniest bit interested in secret societies, mystery, and suspense, then this is a novel that I highly suggest you read. Four stars.

4 stars

F+W/Adams Media and Merit Press have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read this novel, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble



13646394From Goodreads: The zombie apocalypse is nigh!

The trouble is, Alex Cronlord is the only person who knows it. She is a Weaver — one of a group of superhuman children who are able to see the future — and she can still remember the vision she had just weeks ago of being chased by a shambling undead horde. But that’s all she’s seen of the coming horror, and lately, her visions have mostly been confusing. Dead bodies in dumpsters, a strange place called “Pinnacle,” and no sign of a Xorda anywhere. At least, not at first.

As Alex struggles to make sense of these bits of information, a stitch-faced assassin surfaces with a vendetta against Ainsling Cronlord, Alex’s mother. Ainsling is a member of the enigmatic Wells Society, a secret order of women who genetically mutate their own children to turn them into fighters against the Xorda. She is the person who gave Alex her Weaver powers. And she is the person Alex can least afford to trust.

But when the stitch-faced man steps up his campaign against the Cronlord family, Alex begins to realize she may not have a choice. As she learns the disturbing truth behind her recent visions, Alex must decide how far she is willing to go to save the world.

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This sequel to the thrilling novel, Weaver, picks up soon after the first ended, thrusting readers back into the melee that is Alex Cronlord’s life.  Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Alex must now face the truth of what her mother did to her, and decide if knowing the future in order to protect those she loves is more important that her own sanity.  It also begs the question… is she a reject or a Weaver?

Whereas the first novel focuses on that of the future through Alex’s visions, this second novel back tracks and begins to show readers glimpses of the past, a power that scares Alex as she believes she’s losing her edge; that she won’t be able to help anyone battle the Xorda without the serum her mother was testing on her.  And slowly, readers begin to piece together what Ainsling’s life was like prior to becoming a part of the Wells Society. With the special forces of the FBI at her back, Alex learns important information that just might save them all, if only she could cross the planes of their colliding worlds.

This is an intense read that sweeps readers up and carries them along in this fast paced, action packed novel.  Alex is, of course, a kick butt heroine, but her need to protect others will be her downfall if she doesn’t decide which side she wants to be on, because lying to those around you never works out well in the end.  Four stars.

4 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon.



18669741From Goodreads: While eighteen-year-old, Tessa Dark was serving her prison sentence for murder, the world beyond her cell walls changed forever. The thunder came and destroyed the world she had once known.

Trapped inside the prison and faced with no future, Tessa’s only glimmer of hope is her friendship with fellow inmate Joe McBride.

Despite Tessa’s fear, Joe decides to go beyond the prison walls to seek help. But when he fails to return, Tessa is determined to go and search for him.

To gain her freedom, Tessa must first learn to walk, run, and fight on stilts if she is to survive the new and terrifying world on the other side of the prison walls.

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Imagine a world without music. Without moms or dads. Without a home to call your own.  Imagine a world lacking beauty. Safety. Medicine. Imagine you were given the opportunity to leave it all behind, to fight your way across a desolate land filled with peril in order to obtain the truth.  To obtain freedom.  To obtain help.  To possibly perish in agony along the way.  What would you do?

Tessa Dark chooses to fight.  Sent to prison at age 13 for murder, Tessa lost everything when the thunder came six months later.  She hasn’t heard real music in five years. She hasn’t heard from her family in that long, either.  Not since the thunder desolated the earth and charred the remains of all those outside the safety of the prison walls.  She doesn’t know what happened.  She doesn’t know why. But she does know that if she doesn’t bring back help, everyone who’s left will die.  She does know that her one true love left to get help, and never returned.  She does know that her attempt to find “the island” is virtually a suicide mission.  But she doesn’t care.  She has to try.  She has to hope.

O’Rourke’s latest release, Stilts, is a riveting novel that takes a unique concept and brings it to life.  In a world where walking along the earth is much too dangerous, Tessa and her comrades must learn to utilize stilts in hopes of surviving, of reaching the “island,” a place they aren’t certain really exists, in hopes of helping those who are left.  Those who survived.

From the very first page, O’Rourke sweeps on the scene with an epic battle on stilts; captivating readers immediately and not releasing them until long after the final page. And it’s extremely well done.  Tessa is a believable character, and so is that of Beau, her foil and companion along the trek across the ruined earth to find the rendezvous point.  But with a timely appearances of the mysterious hooded figure, the zombified scorchers, and the erratic behavior of Beau, the going is anything but easy or forthright.  Forced to make split second decisions and haunted by the fate of her love, Joe, Tessa, and readers alike, are in for a wild ride.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this novel, for me, is that is takes place in one of O’Rourke’s intricate “pushed” worlds, seamlessly extending itself into the riveting Kiera Hudson and Jack Seth series by default, two series I absolutely adore. Although it doesn’t directly reference any events within the previously mentioned series, O’Rourke reveals the location of the world through his use of surrounding towns, which clues readers in that Tessa’s story might, just maybe, eventually intersect with that of Jack Seth, and possibly with that of Kiera Hudson as well… an enticing thought.

For those new to O’Rourke’s writing, pushed worlds are parallel worlds to the one we know.  In other words, an alternate plane in which we also exist and experience different outcomes on our paths of life.  In the world you and I know, humans rule and a world recession is in our midst.  In Tessa’s world, there is no recession and humans don’t rule anymore because a great thunder, perhaps a war, has torn apart the world as we know it, and zombie like creatures called scorchers roam the desolate earth—a type of goopified zombie whose touch causes one’s body to incinerate.

Sound intriguing?  It is.  And if I lost you with my attempted explanation of a pushed world, no worries. You actually don’t need to know anything about pushed worlds or have read any other O’Rourke novels to follow this latest release.  And Stilts is a great novel to begin with if you’re new to O’Rourke’s tales.  He is one of my all-time favorite authors, and Stilts does not disappoint.  Five stars.

Hashtag Books has been extremely gracious in providing me with this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY and will end at 12:01am EST on December 26th. Please only enter once. The winner will be announced later on December 26th, and will receive email notification! Please read my giveaway policy and leave me a comment!



37781From Goodreads: Things Fall Apart tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society.

The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo’s world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. Things Fall Apart is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within.

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I really didn’t like this novel when I was in high school.  But as an adult, I have found that my understanding of the “classics” and my enjoyment of many of them has indeed changed drastically.  Books I hated as a teen are now interesting and hold meaning for me, because I finally get them.  But, this is not the case with Things Fall Apart.  I disliked it as a teen, and I still dislike it now, mainly because it’s written in a way that just doesn’t appeal to me.

While I understand the purpose of this novel—why it’s important and why it’s taught in high school—the execution of the story itself grates my nerves. It’s extremely choppy and to the point, telling the reader in clipped sentences instead of showing the reader through imagery and interesting details.   And though it’s a fairly short novel, the narrative style of the text makes it seem extremely long, and it just didn’t hold my attention.

As events unfold, readers are told what’s happening as if we’re a bird looking in–we aren’t a part of the story, and events jump from one to another so quickly that little import is given to each scene.  And, there is little description to pull me into the story or to make me connect with the characters; instead we’re just told how Okonkwo feels, what he does, and the retaliating actions of the tribe. It is unfortunate, but I have no sympathy for Okonkwo because he is an awful man, beating everyone and refusing, even under the guidance of his tribe, to let things go.  While trying to be the epitome of what he deems a “man” is supposed to be, Okonkwo misses the mark tenfold through his lack of compassion, and even his people see him as wanting in this aspect because he cannot, and will not, change.  It leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, and though I understand the message, I personally don’t like this book in the least. One star.

1-star1

I borrowed this book from the school library.



18629340From Goodreads: Fame comes at a price. Some pay with their privacy. Others pay with their pride. Khloe Everest paid with her life.

Determined to get her pretty face in front of the cameras, Khloe Everest fakes an abduction only to make a grand entrance in the midst of a press conference held by Spencer’s Police Chief David O’Callaghan.

Three years later, after failing to catapult her notoriety into a long-lasting celebrity, Khloe Everest returns to Spencer upon her mother’s sudden death and seemingly finds another weapon to propel herself into the spotlight. Unfortunately, someone kills her before she can make this entrance.

In Lauren Carr’s sixth Mac Faraday Mystery, Mac and his friends come up against reality stars, politicians, has-beens, and wannabes. Mac also finds himself face-to-face with an old foe from his past who had managed to escape arrest during their last encounter. Now, Mac sees that his adversary has only become more powerful, and dangerous, with the passage of time.

Intent to not let this killer escape again, Mac and his friends need to put all of their talents together to put a stop to a cold blooded lady killer.

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This story is a little bit different from the other Mac Faraday novels, or so I felt, in that we learn who the killer is fairly early on in the novel.  Thus, we are swept up into a cat and mouse game in which our heroes and heroines try to stop the killer before he/she attacks again.  But while the reason behind the murders seems clear enough, this is indeed where Carr springs her twist on her readers, flooring us as the truth, the whole truth, becomes known and it turns out not everything was exactly as it seemed.

Carr is a master story-teller, and her mysteries never cease to amaze and captivate me as I read. I have really come to love the Mac Farady series, and all the many characters, from Gnarly to Archie, and all those in-between; these are wonderful suspense novels full of witty banter, hilarious situations and, of course, enough mystery to enchant an audience from start to finish.

I always love with when authors cross their series, and in this novel, we have this wonderful cross over as Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates grace us with their presence, and I adore them!  They add a wonderful element to the already wonderful Mac Faraday series, and if you haven’t read any of the Lovers in Crime series, then I highly suggest you do to better get to know there awesome characters.

What really stunned me about The Lady Who Cried Murder is that is stems from Carr’s own experience with a bully, and her intense look at how people interact with one another provides an extremely eye opening and intriguing read.  Though it was a little different from what I’m used to with Carr’s writing, this was another great read, and I highly recommend it.  Four stars.

4 stars

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



9781470129361_p0_v1_s260x420From Goodreads: The Hermitage House Miracle starts with a deep hook. “I’ve given you the last six years of my life, and for what? To always be running from one town to another? Never having a life of my own just so you could live?”

As Jamie lay alone in bed, not knowing his mother had just been killed while driving drunk, he was filled with disturbing thoughts. His mother’s last words to him before going out did not make sense. He was even more confused when she had added, in a drunken slur, “If I had a lick of sense I’d have let old Ernie do what he wanted!”

Why had his mother said she had given him the last six years of her life when he was twelve years old?

After being sent to live at the Hermitage House for Children, Jamie begins to have a series of strange and troubling dreams. Each dream is about a little blond-haired boy who has a little sister and a mother and a father. But the mother is not his mother who was killed in the car accident and he had never known his father. Yet his dreams are always about the same family, especially the little boy and his dog. And the father programs computers and makes games, even promising to build the boy a video game so lifelike the boy will think he’s actually inside it…

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This is a novel that seems extremely realistic and true to life, but then takes on aspects of fantasy and the paranormal, giving it an edge that can be a bit jarring should readers not be ready for it.  And yet, it’s a very well written story that warms the heart as it unfolds.  Jamie, now living in an orphanage, only remembers the past six years of his life, but as he begins to make friends and interact with others, a luxury he hadn’t known while his mother was alive, he begins to piece together his life through his vivid dreams and a video game that mysteriously appears in the arcade.

And as it unfolds, readers learn the truth behind Jamie’s lack of memories, behind the dog howling on the wind, and about his mother.  A quick read, this novel will leave you hugging your children close as you realize Jamie’s reality and note that the bond between parent and child remains long after the line is cut.  Three stars.

3 stars

Acorn Book Services has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read this novel, via Netgalley.



17560444From Goodreads: Terror strikes the Celtic inspired kingdom of Nemetona when barbed roots breach the veil of a forbidden land and poison woodsmen, including 15-year-old Lia’s beloved father. Lia and three others embark on a quest to the forbidden land of Brume to gather ingredients for the cure. But after her elder kinsman is attacked and poisoned, she and her cousin, Wynn, are forced to finish the quest on their own.

Lia relies on her powerful herbal wisdom and the memorized pages of her late grandmother’s Grimoire for guidance through a land of soul-hungry shades, trickster creatures, and uncovered truths about the origin of Brume and her family’s unexpected ties to it. The deeper they trek into the land, the stronger Lia’s untapped gift as a tree mage unfolds. When she discovers the enchanted root’s maker, it forces her to question everything about who she is and what is her destiny. Ultimately she must make a terrible choice: keep fighting to save her father and the people of the lands or join with the power behind the deadly roots to help nature start anew.

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I’m not necessarily a science fiction or fantasy buff myself, but this is a very well written story that follows Lia as she embarks on a journey into the forbidden forest of Brume.  Within this fantasy world, evil exists in a very real manner, and it is ever encroaching on the people of Nemetona.  Filled with magical creatures and situations, the novel deals with many intense situations, but I personally didn’t really connect with the characters very well.  I honestly think this has to deal with the fact that science fiction and fantasy are usually hit or miss with me as my imagination lacks a bit when it comes to alternate worlds and universes.  As I can’t really see it in my mind, I sometimes struggle to see what the characters are experiencing if it’s not immediately tangible in my own life, and so I sometimes get lost in the mix of it all.  Truth be told, this isn’t any fault of the author, but rather a personal quirk, and I thought this novel, overall, was very well written.  Had I more of a liking for sci-fi and fantasy novels, I’m sure I would have enjoyed this one much more, but as it stands, I still really liked it and think that true sci-fi and fantasy lovers will thoroughly enjoy this novel.  Three stars.

3 stars

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



18402115From Goodreads: The first memory I have of my grandfather is of a moment that we share together.

I’m sitting on his knee looking out over the harbor. Grandpa is smoking a pipe. He points at the horizon. “Look, Walt. Our ships are out there. And one day, another even more beautiful ship will appear at the horizon. A mighty ship to take us all away. And Annabelle will be at the front deck with open arms, inviting us all to join her on board.”

“Why don’t we sail to her ourselves?” I want to know.

“Because she promised she would come,” granddad replies. “And in that promise we trust. It’s only the Unbelievers who think they can do everything themselves. They have no faith in the Goddess.”

Walt lives in Hope Harbor, an island community that has put its trust in salvation from across the sea. The townspeople wait patiently, build their ships to sail out and welcome the Goddess, and piously visit the temple every week. Horror stories to scare their children are told about the Unbelievers on the other side of Tresco.

But not all is what it seems. Walt has questions that no one can answer, and when his best friend and cousin Yorrick is killed in an accident, he digs deeper to find out the truth about the origins of Hope Harbor’s society… and the secrets of the temple.

Return to the world of The Island and discover what Walt’s life was like before and after he met Leia!

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If you’re like me, then you probably really enjoy novels that give you the “other” side of the story—the same story from a different character’s point of view.  Take Stephanie Meyer’s Midnight Sun, or Marata Eros’ A Brutal Tenderness, for examples.  In Twilight we learn everything from Bella’s point of view, but in Midnight Sun (what’s available, anyway), we are given the same information through Edward’s eyes, which is fantastic, in my opinion.  The same is true in Eros’ A Terrible Love series, giving readers Jess’ point of view in A Terrible Love, and Cass’ in A Brutal Tenderness, bring the story full circle and allowing readers to ascertain the thoughts and feelings of the quiet and brooding Cass, even adding in some differing situations, and taking us back into the worlds we love so deeply.

The same is true for The Waves, the second novel in The Island series by Jen Minkman.  When I first read The Island this past Spring, I was a little disappointed because the story seemed a little pushed, though I liked it overall.  The characters in this first novella were a bit flat, and everything resolved itself just a little too easily for my liking.  However, with the publication of The Waves, Minkman fleshes out the original story, making it much more concrete and filling in the holes left behind by The Island, but doing so through the eyes of a side character in The Island, Walt.

On the island, there are actually two differing groups of people residing, set apart by a vast wall.  Both sides have extremely different ideology concerning where they come from and whether or not they will ever be saved, and they both put their trust in relics such as books.  However, the sides have grown so distant that no one really knows anything about the other anymore, and so they stick to their own knowledge and teachings, fearing the unknown.

Leia grew up on the “Unbelievers” side (though she and her people would never call themselves that).  They believe that every man is for themselves, that children must raise themselves away from The Parents, and that they are completely alone in the universe—there is nothing across the vast space of ocean, and no one will ever come to “save” them.  Walt grew up on the “Fools” side, though again, he and his people would never refer to themselves as that.  They believe that the goddess will one day send her people across the ocean and come for the people on the island, so they hold out hope and wait for the day they may glimpse a ship.

Sound intriguing?  It is, and The Island, book one in the series, focuses on the story of Leia as she questions all that she knows.  But, like I said, I thought that first novella needed a lot more explanation and fleshing out.  The Waves, thankfully, does just that, presenting the story from Walt’s point of view, a “Fool” on the other side of the wall, and it mirrors events in both stories, giving readers the “other side” of the story, which I thoroughly enjoyed!

Picking up a few years prior to events in The Island, we meet Walt and his cousin as they begin to question all they know of Hope Harbor.  Why not build boats and try to see what’s on the other side, if anything, of the ocean? Why must they wait until a ship comes for them?  These questions, and information Walt’s cousin unearths in the vast array of books only a few chosen are allowed to read, ultimately lead to Walt’s cousin’s death… and the Unbelievers did it.  But did they?  As the novella continues to unfold, it begins to parallel events we read about in The Island, showing us what Walt was thinking when he first met Leia, where he took her book after returning home to his side of the island, who he spoke to, and how both the Fools in Hope Harbor and the Unbelievers on the other side decide it is time to confront their beliefs; after all, is it ever smart to only allow a select few the power and knowledge to lead a people?

Overall, The Waves adds a lot to the original story, and this glimpse into the other side of the island is exactly what was needed to make The Island complete.  I highly recommend you read both novellas together in order to get the entire story.  Four stars.

4 starsI received this novella from Netgally in exchange for an honest review.



et cetera
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