Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Dead BeautifulFrom Goodreads: On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, Renée Winters was still an ordinary girl. She spent her summers at the beach, had the perfect best friend, and had just started dating the cutest guy at school. No one she’d ever known had died. But all that changes when she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest, in what appears to be a strange double murder.

After the funeral Renée’s wealthy grandfather sends her to Gottfried Academy, a remote and mysterious boarding school in Maine, where she finds herself studying subjects like Philosophy, Latin, and the “Crude Sciences.”

It’s there that she meets Dante Berlin, a handsome and elusive boy to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they grow closer, unexplainable things begin to happen, but Renée can’t stop herself from falling in love. It’s only when she discovers a dark tragedy in Gottfried’s past that she begins to wonder if the Academy is everything it seems.

Little does she know, Dante is the one hiding a dangerous secret, one that has him fearing for her life.

Dead Beautiful is both a compelling romance and thought-provoking read, bringing shocking new meaning to life, death, love, and the nature of the soul.

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Talk about a swift kick in the gut, Woon leaves readers frantic at the end of her engaging novel, Dead Beautiful. Although carrying many similarities to both Harry Potter and Twilight, Woon makes her novel stand on its own with her creation of the undead in a manner unlike any I’ve read about before. Steeped in mythology and lore, the novel really comes to life as Renee learns of her heritage and figures out just what exactly is wandering the halls of her prestigious boarding school, and though it certainly isn’t any secret to readers, as Renee begins to slowly figure it out, the novel sinks its hooks into the reader.

Yes, there were instances where I shook my head due to a lack of originality, points where the text was so eerily similar to others I’ve already mentioned that I was wary, but as the novel unfolds, if you stick with it, it becomes a beautiful, enticing story that will captivate readers to the very end–to the point where s/he’ll drop the books and demand the second book straight away. At least, that’s what happened with me, and I certainly wasn’t expecting it.

Along the way, I fell in love with the characters, and though I thought Renee was a little slow on the uptake, I did absolutely adore Dante, and the final revelations floored me; I immediately googled the series to make sure the second book was available, and thankfully, both books two and three are out. Seriously, that ending. Wow. Four stars.

4 stars

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

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Witch Hunter OliviaFrom Goodreads: In the town of Piedmont Pointe, where paranormal is the norm, a girl can easily get herself in over her head with a single wrong move. Unfortunately for Olivia Adams, she’s about to make several.

Starting over is never easy, but it seemed like the only option to Olivia. The decision to turn her back on the Guild of Witch Hunters, the very group she devoted her entire life to, was one of the hardest things she ever did. It meant leaving her family, her friends, and her old identity behind forever. Coming to terms with what caused her to abandon her duties in the first place was even harder.

While trying to lay low and stay off the Guild’s radar, Olivia finds herself thrust back into her old ways after unknowingly interrupting an assassination hit on a powerful witch. What follows is the last thing she ever thought she’d agree to do—protect the very thing she was groomed to hunt.

To complicate things even further, Olivia begins to develop feelings for a tattoo artist who also happens to be half warlock, and no matter how hard she tries to fight it, she can’t resist her inescapable draw to him. Olivia’s forbidden relationship isn’t her only issue though, because once the mystery behind the assassination attempt starts to unravel, she’s forced to choose sides when the loyalties still tied to her past life are tested again.

So much for the idea of a fresh start.

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I was lucky enough to have a chance to beta this novel as it was being written—and let me just tell you, it’s a bangin’ story! Kunz is a wonderful storyteller, and the world of Piedmont Pointe, complete with witches, witch hunters, and other magical beings, is one you just can’t miss. If you like the world of the paranormal even just a bit, then this is definitely a novel you need to pick up.

Olivia Adams is a very real character—in fact, they all are, from their mannerisms to their emotions, I truly felt like I knew these characters on a deeper level. Even though they have magical capabilities, they are true to life and real; though the story revolves around magic, should it be removed, the story would still thrive on as it deals with so much more: betrayal, heartache, romance, mystery, intrigue, doing what’s right, and the list goes on. Kunz has weaved in some amazing themes, and as the story unfolds, one cannot help but fall in love with all things Olivia as she struggles to make sense of the world she left behind—a world that just won’t let go of her—as she attempts to fit into this new one.

Full of action, this novel will keep you on your toes as you read, and I already can’t wait for the next installment in this amazing series. Five stars.

5 stars

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

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AUS | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

 



I’m excited to help reveal T.A. Kunz’s upcoming novel, Witch Hunter Olivia!  Check out that cover–it’s so gorgeous!

Witch Hunter Olivia

And check out the full wraparound cover:

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Synopsis:

In the town of Piedmont Pointe, where paranormal is the norm, a girl can easily get herself in over her head with a single wrong move. Unfortunately for Olivia Adams, she’s about to make several.

Starting over is never easy, but it seemed like the only option to Olivia. The decision to turn her back on the Guild of Witch Hunters, the very group she devoted her entire life to, was one of the hardest things she ever did. It meant leaving her family, her friends, and her old identity behind forever. Coming to terms with what caused her to abandon her duties in the first place was even harder.

While trying to lay low and stay off the Guild’s radar, Olivia finds herself thrust back into her old ways after unknowingly interrupting an assassination hit on a powerful witch. What follows is the last thing she ever thought she’d agree to do—protect the very thing she was groomed to hunt.

To complicate things even further, Olivia begins to develop feelings for a tattoo artist who also happens to be half warlock, and no matter how hard she tries to fight it, she can’t resist her inescapable draw to him. Olivia’s forbidden relationship isn’t her only issue though, because once the mystery behind the assassination attempt starts to unravel, she’s forced to choose sides when the loyalties still tied to her past life are tested again.

So much for the idea of a fresh start.

 

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Preorder on iBooks

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Author Bio:

Author T.A. Kunz has always had a fondness for reading thrilling mysteries and action-packed urban fantasies. So, it was no surprise when T.A. decided to write stories that they’d fall into one of those two genres. T.A. lives in Central Florida with two fur babies and a mechanical engineer who also happens to be quite the culinary badass, which there are no complaints about. Being a self-diagnosed caffeine addict, many joke that T.A.’s addiction to Starbucks coffee will likely be their downfall later in life.

Links:

Website – www.takunz.com

Email – authort.a.kunz@gmail.com

Twitter – @AuthorTAKunz



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

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

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

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

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

4 stars

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

Kindle | Nook

Pre-Order today!  You don’t want to miss this one!!



Donna of the DeadDonna of the Dead

by Alison Kemper

Release Date: March 4, 2014

Donna Pierce might hear voices, but that doesn’t mean she’s crazy. Probably.

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

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

“Awesome writing, wicked humor, sexy boys. I’ve never wanted to be part of the zompocalypse so badly!!” —Brigid Kemmerer, author of the Elemental series

“Donna of the Dead is a fast-paced, humorous, and intricate zombie novel for lovers of all things zombie.” —A Book Vacation Reviews

Pre-order your copy today!

Kindle | Nook

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alison kemperAbout Alison Kemper

Alison Kemper grew up in South Florida, the only girl on a street with eleven boys. She spent most of her childhood paddling a canoe through neighborhood canals and looking for adventure. She usually found it. Sometimes the police were involved. And large dogs. And one time, a very territorial snake. Now that she’s grown up, she lives in North Carolina and writes books. The books often include girls having adventures. With boys. Cute boys. And cute dogs too. But no cute snakes. Never cute snakes.

Her debut novel, Donna of the Dead, will be published by Entangled Teen in 2014 and followed by two companion books in the series. She loves to meet new people and talk books, so send her a friend request or connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, her blog or website.



15947841From Goodreads: The Changed are on the move. The Spared are out of time. The End…is now.

When her parents died, Alex thought things couldn’t get much worse-until the doctors found the monster in her head.

She headed into the wilderness as a good-bye, to leave everything behind. But then the end of the world happened, and Alex took the first step down a treacherous road of betrayal and terror and death.

Now, with no hope of rescue-on the brink of starvation in a winter that just won’t quit-she discovers a new and horrifying truth.

The Change isn’t over.
The Changed are still evolving.
And…they’ve had help.

With this final volume of The Ashes Trilogy, Ilsa J. Bick delivers a riveting, blockbuster finish, returning readers to a brutal, post-apocalyptic world where no one is safe and hope is in short supply.

A world where, from these ashes, the monsters may rise.

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Bick jumps right into this final installment without giving any playback, so if you haven’t read the other books, you’ll be lost in this one. And if you haven’t read the other books recently, you’ll most likely need a refresher course because there are a ton of characters, and the story jumps back and forth between them all, leaving the reader on constant pins and needles as each change over happens on a cliffhanger.  To be truthful, Bick is the queen of cliffhangers—I haven’t read another author that does it so flawlessly and so often within his/her writing; it’s an art, really, and I admire Bick’s ability to write a story like this that leaves me yearning for more and more, freaking out at each mini cliffhanger within the chapters.  And guess what?  The ending, in my opinion, leaves the door wide open for a spinoff series if Bick so chooses, which I would love, cliffhangers and all.

The characterization is great, but I was a bit confused by some of the paranormal activity that takes place in this novel, which I either forgot about from the previous novels, or I just plain missed in this one. I don’t really understand Alex’s ability and the monster within her, but I’m going to chalk it up to reader error because, honestly, Bick has never lead me astray.  I’ve highly enjoyed all her novels, and this zombie apocalypse is a smash hit.

Overall, Monsters was one hell of a ride and a great end to the series, but just a little too long for my tastes. I, personally, would have gotten more joy out of it had it been pared down from nearly 700 pages to two separate books.  Instead of a trilogy, a four book series would have been superb and made reading this final installment that much easier.  Regardless, though, this was an epic end to the series, but readers beware, it’s basically a nonstop action ride, jumping from character to character with mini cliffhangers written in between the multiple points of view.  There isn’t much down time, though I’ll admit there was a little, so I came out of it extremely tense and my body hurt from it all because I just couldn’t let myself relax as I read, and 700 pages is a long time to be tense. But it’s so good, it was worth it.  Four stars.

4 stars

Egmont USA has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on September 10, 2013.



et cetera
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