The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling | Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: June 12th 2015

Synopsis:

When Kat accidentally rips apart an old picture book, she’s magically transported into the world of Cinderella–as Katriona, one of the ugly stepsisters! Life turns upside down now that she’s a highborn lady and must learn how to survive the social season, including how to get through the door in a huge metal hoop skirt. To get back, she’ll have to complete the story, right to the end of happily ever after. But the odds are huge: the other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous, the fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, and the prince, despite being insanely hot, openly dislikes balls. Can she ever return to the modern world?


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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Genre(s): Young-adult, fantasy, fairytale retelling

Page Count: 452

Format: e-book


Note: I received a free digital copy of this book thanks to Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Hello everyone! Today I have for you a review on The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling, an awesome Cinderella fairytale retelling. It is honestly one of the best and one of the most unique retellings I have ever read, and I loved it. After all those fairytale retellings out there, you’d think that there aren’t many new ideas out there, but this book definitely throws those notions out of the water.

Quick Summary

Kat is your resident bookworm who loves to read (obviously). One day, while cleaning her attic, she accidentally rips an old Cinderella fairytale book and is transported inside the story, where she is told that she is required to complete the story in order to get back home. Thing is, Kat isn’t Cinderella. Nope, she’s the ugly stepsister, named Katriona Bradshaw. She must get the prince to fall in love with Cinderella… but problems arise when she starts to fall in love with the prince herself.

Plot

Ahh this plot was simply wonderful! It was full of twists and turns that I loved and couldn’t get enough of. The pacing was fast, and I loved how everything fit together so nicely. There was the main plot (Kat trying to get the prince and Cinderella together so she could go home to where she belongs) and then there were various subplots, other things that happened along the way that made the storyline even stronger. The plot of the novel is just so unique in itself, it was double the fun in reading the book and trying to guess at what might happen.

The only thing I have to say is that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending. I totally understood why the author had to make it that way, but I couldn’t—still can’t—fully accept it. That being said, it’s a pretty bitter-sweet kind of ending and not exactly what I was hoping for, but the rest of the story still makes it worth reading. The journey more than the destination, you know? And it isn’t terrible ending, it’s quite subjective really. Overall, the plot was totally unique and an awesome adventure!

Characters

“Books open new worlds to me.”

Let’s move on to the characters. Kat, the protagonist, was amazing. Not only was she a totally awesome bookworm, she seemed realistic and it was just lots of fun seeing her attempt to adjust in a new world, and so easy to relate to her as she struggled to do so. I could also totally see a lot of my bookworm tendencies in her and that was a wonderful touch.

“Okay Kat. This is Story World, for heaven’s sake, so get a grip on yourself. You’ve no business drooling over storybook characters.”

Replace Kat with Analee and that’s basically what I have to tell myself whenever I’m transported into a wonderful story and fall in love with the characters. (AKA, all the time!) 😉

Apart from Kat’s general relatability and bookishness, I loved her development. From a shy but likeable and kind of awkward bibliophile, she becomes a strong, independant and confident female character who I not only liked, but admired. She becomes more outspoken, and more sure of herself, and I loved seeing that in her.

I also really liked the love interest, the prince, Edward. But, I won’t lie, not as much as I did Kat. But that didn’t make him a bad character. He liked to read and owned a huge library which he allowed Kat to use (which reminded me a lot of Dorian from Throne of Glass, lol.) He’s a really good person, but at first, I really had trouble getting the image of the Edward from Twilight out of my head. I mean, come on, I’m sure all of you reading this right now was thinking about it. I don’t hate Edward by any means, but I really didn’t want to associate this character with him, for which reason I’m glad that I was able to identify him as his own person later on in the book.

And although there are some similarities between the two (mainly the temper) I really liked seeing how the story wasn’t affected that much by it. He was caring and a really sweet guy, who I think I kind of fell for by the end of the book. 🙂 The romance between him and Kat was quite cute and well balanced; just enough of it to keep readers satisfied and wanting more at the same time. So, basically, I’m trying to say although there are similarities between this Edward and Twilight’s Edward, they’re not too many and overall I really liked him.

There are several secondary characters in this, but there isn’t much to say about them since we don’t get too much of them in-depth since the story is told mostly from Kat’s 1st person POV, which didn’t leave much space for other characters to be as developed as her and Edward. I did really like Henry and Elle (Cinderella) though, who both play important roles in the book and are quite nice.

Writing Style

The writing style is perfect for this story! The writing really reflected both Kat’s humor and personality, which was lots of fun to read. It was fast paced to reflect the pace of the story, but it wasn’t too rushed and was simple but still very significant and beautiful.

Overall…

This is a book you definitely can’t miss if you like fairytale retellings—and unique ones at that! I haven’t read all the Cinderella fairytale retellings out there, but this one is definitely unlike most of them out there, in a good way. I mean, how many times have you read a retelling told from the POV of the ugly stepsister? And although this book didn’t follow the original fairytale that much, it was totally able to pull off a fresh concept wonderfully. Though the ending is quite subjective, the plot itself is full of twists and turns and a great story with a cute romance. The main character Kat is relatable and a wonderful person who goes through a lot of development—which is great. Edward, the love interest, is quite sweet and likeable, and not a replica of Edward from Twilight, fortunately. (Although if you have a major hate thing going on with Edward, I suggest you proceed with caution.) The writing style is also spot-on for this story and I loved it! All in all, this book was fantastic and I really liked it. I imagine you would too if you like retellings and romance—but we’d never know if you don’t try! I definitely recommend you give this book a shot.

Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought! And even if you haven’t, I’d love to know what you think of this book; want to read or not interested? Have you read any retellings told from the POV of the stepsister? (‘Cause I honestly would love to know! :P)

A tasty meal for sure! Gobble it up. 

Analee 10

 

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Pepped Up by Ali Dean | Book Review (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

(Pepper Jones #1)

Published: August 25th 2013

Synopsis:

Pepper Jones is ready for an epic cross country season. She wants to qualify for Nationals, and she’s willing to do anything it takes to make it happen. She can handle long miles and hill sprints, but boys? That’s an entirely different challenge.

Pepper’s never considered revealing her deeper feelings for her longtime friend, Jace Wilder. After all, he’s got the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town — and he has. Their friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and they’re both just fine with that (or at least they pretend to be).

That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town.

When it comes to running, Pepper’s goals are clear. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple.


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My Rating: 3 stars 3/5 (Decent)

Book Information

Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Page Count: 238

Format: ebook

Purchase: Amazon


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Welcome to my review stop of the first book in the Pepper Jones series, Pepped Up by Ali Dean!

Note: I received a free digital copy thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for review purposes. This doesn’t affect my review in any way.

Pepped Up is a fun, light-hearted contemporary novel that I liked. I wasn’t particularly attached to the main character and the pace was a bit slow for my taste, but overall it’s a good book that will keep you entertained.

Plot

Before anything, I have to say that this book is not at all for readers who dislike love triangles. I tend to be wary of them myself, but I don’t avoid them (not like I can even if I wanted to, seeing how basically all books these days have love triangles). I mean, there are love triangles that turn out to be entertaining, you know? Sadly, this one wasn’t one of them. I feel as if the book was dominated by the love triangle, and instead of being entertaining, in the first half of the novel, I found myself being annoyed at the lack of substance. However, once I took the plot a bit less seriously and just focused on what it’s like in terms of reading about it, I did like the story. It was a relatively light read and it ended up being an entertaining read. That being said, there was one thing that kind of had me a bit iffy about, which was the fact that there were more mature themes in this book than I was expecting. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I suppose since I wasn’t at all expecting such themes in this book, it threw me off.

What I liked most about the plot was the sports theme in this book. It’s not often that I find YA books about sports or with sport-related themes that turn out to be entertaining, and I really liked that aspect of the book. Most of the sports themes had to do with running, and although I’m a terrible runner, it was interesting reading from the perspective of a characters who loved to run and was great at it too.

“This right here is what I live for. The steady rhythm of my feet landing softly on dirt.”

Characters

I have a love-hate thing going on with Pepper. On one hand I like her attitude towards running, the fact that she’s willing to push herself and hold back when needed so she can do the best she can. She’s relatively disciplined and I liked her character, for the most part. On the other hand, what got on my nerves was her tendency to pine after Jace (who’s a complete jerk) and the fact that despite being smart, she couldn’t see the obvious (like so many other YA characters out there). I just couldn’t understand it and it ended up being annoying.

The main love interest, Jace, is who really bugged me. Sure, he had some nice moments, but overall I couldn’t see why Pepper was so into him and there was no depth to him much. I felt as if the only reason people were into him was because he was attractive, which is a bummer because he had the potential to be a real great character. Ryan, the other love interest, was better, there seemed to actually be more to him compared to Jace.

Writing Style

The writing style is one of the best parts of the novel. I would’ve hardly have guessed that this was a debut novel, because the writing had a lot of skill behind it that you wouldn’t expect to see in debuts. I did find the pace to be a bit slow, but that is considering my own taste, I would say for the majority the pace is completely adequate. One thing I was not a big fan of was the ending, because although it’s not technically a cliffhanger, it does leave something missing and felt rushed to me. I’m assuming more will be answered in the next books though.

“I want to capture the exhilaration and peace flowing through my veins, pulsing through my soul. Who needs a vice when you can attain an utter sense of being alive with such simple ingredients?”

-Pepper, about running

Overall…

This contemporary romance debut is more of a hit-or-miss. It wasn’t completely my cup of tea, but it was an entertaining read all the same, despite the more negative side of this book. The plot could’ve been handled better and the characters could’ve had more depth, but if you like love triangles and contemporary romance, this isn’t a bad book to try out. The writing is great, and I really enjoyed the running descriptions. All in all, a decent YA (with mature themes) contemporary romance with sport themes and a love triangle, Pepped Up is the first in a trilogy I have a good chance of continuing. (If only to get a better ending.)

An adequate meal! What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! 

Analee 10


Ali_AUTHOR BIO:

Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.

Author links: Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


INT Giveaway – $10 Amazon gift card + a signed copy of any book in the Pepper Jones series (ends August 27th)

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Timekeeper Rising by Allyssa Painter | Book Blitz & Giveaway

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Timekeeper Rising_bookcoverBook Details

Title: Timekeeper Rising

Author: Allyssa Painter

Series Status: The Timekeeper Duo #1

Publication Date: August 1st 2015

Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Young Adult


Synopsis:

Fifty years ago, the sky cried acid and the earth vomited poison, all due to human destruction. Desperate for a savior, the people called out to the Shunned, a group of Fallen angels on Earth, and allowed them to take over. Now the Shunned rule with unspeakable cruelty, manipulating and torturing the humans in every possible way. Marked for death, Iris Ankea will do anything to end their tyranny and rescue her brother and best friend from their clutches. When she learns that she is God’s chosen Timekeeper and has the power to defeat the Shunned, she sets out with the only man who can help her, the one she thinks just might kill her. With a prophecy about her drawing ever near, Iris must race against time to discover her powers before the world, and her life, end. Can Iris force herself to embrace her role and sacrifice herself to save everyone she loves, or will she lose it all?

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Excerpt

“Can I help you?” she asked in a polite voice, staring the man down, pretending that she had not already embedded her dagger deep into his thigh and did not currently work through ways to gain the advantage. She took mental inventory as she stared the man down, watching for any move he may choose to make. She carried no weapons, while he carried many. He seemed built for sheer strength, while Iris possessed a thin, wiry body, though she had strengthened it. He possessed at least some sort of power since he could deflect her dagger somewhat. Iris had powers too, but they were undeveloped and mostly still a complete mystery to her. So, what could she do to protect herself? How could she win this battle?

The man sneered at her, looking down at her both literally and figuratively. “Yes, you can. If you’d like to just, oh, I don’t know, die at my feet, that’d be awesome. Thanks.” The man smiled scathingly, revealing two rows of decaying teeth.

Iris did not even wince, though inwardly she cringed at his disgusting mouth. “No, sorry, I just don’t think that’s going to happen today. Maybe try again tomorrow. Or you know, don’t.” She smiled sweetly as she suddenly spun, bringing a roundhouse kick to the man’s stomach. He stumbled backward a few steps and snarled. He stayed on his feet but he bent over for a long moment to catch his breath. Iris laughed. “What? You didn’t expect a little thing like me to pack a punch? Or rather, a kick? Oh, sorry. I do so hate to disappoint.”

The man once again stood tall and began to step toward Iris. She stepped away. He stepped to the side. She countered. Iris contradicted every move he made, the two circling each other. He yanked her dagger out of his thigh and allowed the blood to seep. “Apparently I will have the pleasure to kill you with your own dagger.”

In one movement, he stepped to the left, forcing Iris to counter even as he shoved the dagger toward her heart. She moved more quickly than he and thus earned a slice across her upper right ribcage. She grunted in pain but did not soften her blow. Instead, she shot forward, shoving her right palm to his nose and up. She tried not to wince at the crunching sound his nose made. She did not care for hurting others but she would defend herself and her family until her dying breath. No one would touch them. As the man recovered from the blow to his nose, Iris stepped forward once more and reached for her dagger. He waved his hand and sent her flying.

With a thump, Iris landed against a nearby tree. She fought to catch her breath as he grinned, those rotten teeth gleaming out at her. He stalked toward her, a glinting pistol in hand. She pushed herself into a standing position as she tentatively reached out with her mind. She caught snippets, just pieces about her position as the Timekeeper and her lack of weapons. She silently cursed herself for leaving the cabin without them. She knew better. Zander had taught her better.

As the stranger loomed toward her, she forced herself to forget about the pain in her body. She focused on the matter at hand and how she could fix it. But that was the problem. How could she fix it? Few options presented themselves and the few that did were unseemly. Iris gritted her teeth and faced the man attempting to murder her, a virtual stranger. She wondered what could possess someone to track down a stranger and murder them in cold blood without the stranger ever harming them or anyone, for that matter. She should ask Sage. On her own, she could not comprehend it. She could understand if she had killed someone the man loved or something. But she hadn’t. And he did not care.

The man once again began the dance of stepping ever closer, each step just a bit to the side. Iris mirrored his movements, once again circling. Her mind raced, trying to win this fight before it fully began. Stall, stall, stall, her mind told her. Give up, you’ll never win, her body replied. There is no victory without a battle, her heart countered. The words steadied her. “Tell me, why did you come? What have I, a teenager, done to someone like you, a man of your stature, to warrant this, this attempted murder? Why do you bother with me?”

The man laughed, a cruel, evil laugh. “Little Timekeeper, you know as well as I why I intend to murder you. And believe me, dear, this is no attempt. I shall succeed. I always do.”

Iris smiled. “I must disagree with you there, sir. Fate has already woven a far different tale. I shall not die this day. I do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.” She grinned again, a scathing grin meant to match his own. He lunged at her, but she had been prepared for that. As he stepped forward she dropped to the ground, delivering her own low swinging kick, knocking his feet out from under him.

Iris watched the man topple with a satisfied sigh as she stood and moved to ready herself for another attack. She knew she mostly bought time. If she could keep him from pulling that trigger, eventually she could knock the weapon away from him or snag her own. Or, hopefully, Sage or Sara would come looking for her and bring a weapon. She could not really see Cassian coming to her aid, but hopefully one of the others would. She desperately needed help and she knew it.

As Iris backed away from the man, he rose to his feet. “You insolent girl, do you really hope to defeat me? You would need an army and I see no army. How do you intend to beat me?”

Iris wondered the same question as the man lumbered toward her once more. How did she intend to escape this situation?



Allyssa

AUTHOR BIO:
Allyssa Painter is the author of Timekeeper Rising, the first in the Timekeeper Duo. She graduated from Sissonville High School and attends Concord University for elementary and special education. She dreams of becoming an elementary teacher and continuing to touch the world around her through the novels she writes. In her free time, she enjoys reading fantastical adventures, spending time with her family, and capturing the world around her in photography and writing.Author Links:
Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

INT GIVEAWAY – 1 signed copy of Timekeeper Rising & 2 ebook copies of Timekeeper Rising, ends August 13th

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We Are Watching by M. Stephen Stewart | Blog Tour Review + Giveaway

(Mindshare #1)

Published: December 16th 2014

Synopsis:

Henry Malone’s childhood was shattered by the unexplained suicide of his father. Now a teenager, his days are spent studying to become a Neural Implant Technician for Planetary Link Corporation, helping them maintain an iron grip over his walled country and every iota of knowledge contained within—but he leads a double life. Henry’s nights are spent helping his mother wage a cyber war against them in her quest to find the truth behind his father’s death.

He’s managed to keep his two lives separate, a delicate balance that’s endangered after he repairs the neural implant of a stranger. He finds she’s in possession of illegal memories from the outside world, unauthorized knowledge of his father, and a message: speak to me later and tell no one. Henry has a choice to make—ignore the message and maintain his double-life, or answer and risk everything to uncover secrets Planetary Link would kill to keep buried.


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My Rating: 3.5 stars 3.5/5 (Liked it)

Book Information

Publisher: Primrose Publishing

Genre(s): Dystopia, Young-adult

Page Count: 286

Format: e-book

Purchase: Amazon


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Welcome to my review tour stop of We Are Watching by M. Stephen Stewart, a dystopian and sci-fi young-adult novel!

Note: I received a free digital copy of this book thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for review purposes. This does not affect my review.

This book was intriguing, to say the least! It had an interesting, new world, with advanced technology that all took some time to get used to, but overall I really liked it.

Quick Summary

Henry Malone has always been in the spotlight since his famous father, Scott Malone died. His mother has been continuously attached to her NEX, (basically like our smartphones these days except implanted in the brain). Now Henry’s works for Planetary Link (Plink) as a technician in Neural Implants. One day, when he comes across a girl who has strange memories of the world outside, and of himself and his father, Henry’s world turns completely upside down. Instead of continuing to work for Plink, Henry suddenly finds new revelations, revelations that change everything he’s ever known.Read More »

Fractured Memories by Jo Schneider | Book Blitz & Giveaway

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FMBook Details:

Title: Fractured Memories

Author: Jo Schneider

Series Status: (Jagged Scars #1)

Publication Date: May 20th 2015

Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult


Synopsis:

Sixteen year old Wendy never knew the world before the Starvation. She’s learned to put her trust in her knives, and her confidence in her fighting ability. When the Skinnies attack her compound, she’s the lone survivor.

Injured and near death, Wendy is rescued and nursed back to health by mysterious strangers. Her saviors offer her a place among them, but trust has never been one of Wendy’s strengths, and suspicion soon leads to evidence that these people might be the group who killed her family.

The decision to get her revenge, and take the settlement down from the inside out is easy. Keeping her distance from those she must befriend in order to make it happen proves to be much more difficult.

Purchase:

Author Q&A
1- What does your writing process look like?

Imagine a desk, and at one end is a neat, little pile of papers. Next to that is another pile, this one not quite so tidy. Maybe one paper is slipping off the stack, which leads the eye to an array of notes that may have been, at one time, in a pleasing fan shape, but now looks like someone gave it a noogie. This is usually where you will discover the discarded wrappers of whatever snacks I could find. A glass with the glazed on remains of a Diet Coke will be sitting on a Dr. Who coaster, and the little cup for pens will be empty, because the pens are now hiding under the papers. When your eyes reach the keyboard, you’ll see that everything has been pushed aside to make room for me playing of Facebook.

2-What book do you wish you could have written?

Ender’s Game. That book has captured so many people’s imaginations, I would love to have been the person to have written it. Plus, Ender’s Game sits somewhere in the middle of commercial fiction and literary fiction, a place I hope to venture someday.

3-How important are names in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any other name choosing resources you recommend?

Names are very important, and I’m sometimes horrible at finding just the right one. Ages ago, I bought a baby name book–a book that my fiance packed up when we got married and moved in together and was a little concerned about–and I often use that to find names. Sometimes I look at meanings. Often I will end up with names that all sound the same (one syllable for instance) or all start with the same letter. When that starts to happen, I find a letter I haven’t used and I flip open the book. Sometimes I use the web too. Especially if I need, say, legitimate last name from Africa .

In my first novel, New Sight, I couldn’t think of a name for the bad guys, so I named them the New until I came up with something better. By the time I got finished writing the book, the New had stuck. It’s a dumb name, but now it’s theirs.

4-What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

This one is easy, and maybe you’re expecting me to say “Finishing my first manuscript!”, but that’s not it at all. While writing isn’t easy, it’s something that I can do. What I struggled for six years to get is my black belt in Shaolin Kempo. I’m a round girl–always have been–and I had to put some seriously hard, physical effort into every single thing I did at the dojo. I can write all day, but ask me to do a push up, and I still inwardly roll my eyes and do them from my knees. So yeah, black belt. I’m pretty proud of that.

5-What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors.

Years ago, I was at a little, tiny writing/Sci-fi/Fantasy convention and I went to a class by a guy I’d never heard of. A guy named Brandon Sanderson. His first Librarians book was about to come out, and he was talking about magic systems. I don’t really remember what he said about that. What I do remember is one simple statement he made, “Don’t be afraid to suck.”

I’ve lived by this creed ever since. Don’t expect to be the best author in the room, don’t expect to get everything right the first time, and don’t expect to wow every reader you encounter. What all authors need to do is keep writing. Find some people who will help you get better and listen to them. It’s okay to suck, as long as you’re willing to try again.

6- Do you read reviews? Do you respond the them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I started out reading my reviews, but quickly gave up. Partly because it’s like an emotional roller coaster with some ups, some downs and often times afterwards I just wanted to throw up. My fix for all of this was to have my husband read them. He then tells me if there are any common threads. For instance, if three or four people say they felt the ending was rushed, then that’s something I should look at.

I remember getting a review of my first novel that said it was horrible and she couldn’t connect with the characters and she didn’t even make it through the book. I was devastated. How could anyone be so mean? In a fit of rage, I looked up her blog to see if she was mean to everyone, or if it was just me. That’s when I found out that she reviews fluffy romances, not action/Sci-Fi/Fantasy stories. No wonder she didn’t make it through, there wasn’t nearly enough googly eyes and sexual tension for her. That’s when I asked my hubby to read the reviews for me. One romance writer hated my book. That’s totally fine, but her feedback isn’t terribly pertinent to me, because I’m not writing Twilight.

7-What is your biggest failure?

I still haven’t received any death threats for killing off a character. This will happen.

8-What is your biggest fear?

The dark. No, wolves. No, the lack of toilet paper in the apocalypse.

9-What do you want your tombstone to say?

Okay, two things here. The mom of one of my best friends growing up wants this on hers, and I think it’s brilliant, “See, I told you I was sick.” I can probably talk my husband into this.

If not that, then something silly. None of the sweet, tear jerking messages that people leave. Those are lovely, but not really me. I’m more like, “Did you turn the lights off before you left?” or, “Be good. There is no try.”

10-If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Flying. Fast. Then I’d figure out some weapons and the bad guys would hate me. Buahahaha!


Jo

AUTHOR BIO:
Author of Babes in Spyland, New Sight-YA fantasy out April 2014, wearer of a black belt in Kempo and always in search of the next cool place to visit!
Author links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

INT Giveaway – 1 ebook copy of Fractured Memories, ends July 29th

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Mm, a post-apocalyptic novel! Sounds good to me! What are your thoughts?

-A

How to be a Mermaid by Erin Hayes | Book Blitz & Giveaway

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How to be a Mermaid_bookcoverBook Details:

Title: How to be a Mermaid

Author: Erin Hayes

Series Status: (Falling in Deep Collection, #10)

Publication Date: July 7th 2015

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


Synopsis:

All Tara ever wanted was to be a mermaid.

So she takes a year off between high school and college to don a fake tail and tour aquariums across the country in a professional mermaid troupe.

Everything’s great until she meets a gorgeous real-life merman named Finn. Suddenly, what she thought was a dream turns out to be a nightmare — she’s turning into a mermaid herself. For real.

Yet when she returns to the sea to seek out Finn and reverse her transformation, she finds herself in the middle of an impending war between the land and sea. Tara may have always wanted to be a mermaid, but now it’s sink or swim. In order to survive, she has to learn how to be one, too.

***

Summer 2015, award-winning, and best-selling authors will bring you romantic tales of mermaids, sirens, sprites, and other creatures of the deep! Keep in touch as we reveal each title in our collection!

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Excerpt

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man pulling himself up and over the fence by me. At least, I thought it was a man—he was hidden by the shadows and I couldn’t be sure. Curiosity overtook fear and I straightened from my kneeling position to get a closer look. Maybe it was a cleaner. Or a trespasser, in which case, I should be running.

I walked towards the figure as it began crawling across the ground, recovered from its climb.

It was dark, so I could barely see the outline of a man’s body stop and look at me. Then I saw the impossible, long, single fin on his lower half instead of two feet, and the scales cascading down from the man’s waist.

A mer tail. Not like the silicon kind I used for my performances. Even in the dark, I could see that it writhed and moved with a mind of its own, fully an extension of his body.

Reflexes and survival instinct took over before my mind could react. I backpedaled, trying to get away from the mysterious figure, only I misjudged how far I was from the edge of the water. And how wet the ground was.

My foot slipped and I fell head-over-heels backwards, plunging over the side of the fence and onto the rocky crags below. I screamed for help, but when my head struck solid rock and the rest of my body impacted with the ground, I fell into an unyielding darkness, one that was haunted by merman-shaped shadows emerging from the ocean.

Women near sea


Interview

1. What is your favorite mermaid story or myth?

I’ve always loved Disney’s The Little Mermaid, but when I read the original Hans Christian Andersen tale, I fell in love with it. It’s a dark, sad tale that still gives me chills. If you haven’t read it, you should pick it up and read it! You’ll never watch the animated movie the same way ever again.

2. What was the inspiration for How to be a Mermaid?

I stumbled upon the Weeki Wachee mermaids, a professional mermaid troupe based out of Florida. I wondered what would happen if one of those mermaids ever met a real-life merman and the story flourished from there.

3. Cast your characters. If How to be a Mermaid was made into a movie, who would play your main characters?

Tara: Katie McGrath is a bit older than Tara in the book, but I think she’d be perfect. I’ve seen her in comedy and I’ve seen her act, and she looks the part too! She’s been in a few things, but I imagine we’re going to see a lot more of Katie McGrath in upcoming movies.

CASTKatie_McGrath

Finn: Liam Hemsworth. Sighs. Imagine him with a mer tail and that’s him!

CASTLiam-Hemsworth

4. What was most challenging thing writing about mermaids?

The most challenging part, actually, was trying to get a behind-the-scenes perspective of professional mermaids. I went to the Georgia Aquarium to see the Weeki Wachee mermaids in action and did a backstage tour to see how the aquarium worked. After that, I was able to incorporate what I saw into the story.

5. Ursula or Ariel?

Ursula. Sea witches always have more fun.

6. What else should we know about How to be a Mermaid?

Pay attention to the character Jordyn – her character is getting her own story coming up!


Embrace

Underwater photo of a human diving in blue sea water

Beautiful mermaid holding seashell swimming in deep blue ocean with wild dolphin near coral reef. Underwater photo.


AUTHOR BIO:

ErinSci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books, like the fantasy mystery novel Death is but a Dream, the sci-fi middle grade book Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average, and the Her Wolf paranormal series.

She works as an advertising copywriter during the day, and she moonlights as an author. She has lived in New Zealand, Texas, and now in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.

You can reach her at erinhayesbooks@gmail.com and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.

Author links:
GIVEAWAY – INT, ends June 16th
Giveaway Picture
  •  A mermaid care package to help you be the best mermaid:
    • A signed copy of How to be a Mermaid
    • Tara’s necklace
    • Two Mermaid Mix soaks
    • A mermaid mirror compact
    • Six starfish hairpins
    • A mermaid wallet
    • Mermaid perfume
    • Mermaid Tail Nail Polish
    • A mermaid makeup bag
    • Four Little Mermaid Buttons
    • And one mermaid handbag to carry all your dinglehoppers

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Does this sound tasty to you? Let me know in the comments below!

-A

Tor Maddox series by Liz Coley | Book Blitz & Giveaways

GIVEAWAYS – Enter for the chance to win…
One (1) ebook copy of Unleashed (book 1). Open internationally. Prize will be sent out after July 28th.

AND

a hardcopy set of all three books in the Tor Maddox series – ends July 9th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Unleashed by Liz Coley | Book Review

(Tor Maddox #1)

Published: May 1st 2015

Synopsis:

When sixteen-year old Torrance Olivia Maddox, self-confessed news junkie, figures out that the mysterious and deadly New Flu is being spread by dogs, she has one question—if the danger is that obvious to her, why hasn’t the government revealed the truth and taken action?

Her search for the answer will take her farther than she ever imagined. But then again, she never imagined that man’s best friend could become public enemy number one, that men in black might show up in her cozy suburban neighborhood, that she’d spend her sixteenth birthday as a teenaged runaway, and that her effort to save one dog would become a mission to save them all.


Unleashed
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My Rating: 3.5 stars 3.5/5 (Liked it)

Book Information

Publisher: LC Teen

Genre(s): Young-adult, thriller

Page Count: 306

Format: E-book


Note: I received a free digital copy of this book thanks to Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Hi! Today I have for you a review on Unleashed, the first book in the Tor Maddox series by Liz Coley. To be quite honest, I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting from this book, but I’m happy to say whatever my expectations were, they were met. Unleashed is a fun, interesting book that all dog-lovers will find enjoyable!

Quick Summary

When man’s best friend are found to be the holders of the New Flu, a deadly virus that can be transmitted from dogs to humans, everyone is buying into the government’s propaganda—except for Torrance Olivia Maddox (AKA Tor), who discovers the truth before any other citizen. What started off as a fight to keep her dog turns into the ultimate battle to save all the dogs in the country before it’s too late.Read More »

Spectacle by S.J. Pierce | Book Blitz & Giveaway

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Spectacle

Book Details:

Title: Spectacle

Author: S.J. Pierce

Series Status: Stand-Alone

Publication Date: March 10th 2015

Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult


Synopsis:

***This is currently a web series!!! I’m releasing a chapter at a time on my website at www.sjpiercebooks.blogspot.com. You can read there or go to Scribd, download their app, and read there.***

Hunger Games meets Avatar meets Gladiator in this spellbinding new Young Adult Science-Fiction web series by bestselling author Susan James Pierce.

Fear can make you a target…

Two hundred years after the Great Disaster, the day earthquakes ravaged Earth’s landscapes, humanity has finally regrouped and is working toward a better future. But in New America – one of three small, remaining landmasses – the threat of overpopulation makes a better future seem bleaker by the year.

Mira (Mirabella) Foster and her parents are citizens of New America, and with the threat of starvation and disease looming on the horizon, a new discovery threatens to push everyone to the brink of chaos: blue markings develop on people’s skin. Markings that are distinctive of a humanoid alien race named Changers that secretly sought refuge on Earth years ago. Markings that allow them to camouflage their skin, but also make them feared, and eventually, targets of violence.

Mira’s dad is one of them.

Anger can make you a spectacle…

Banished to a treacherous, uninhabited island, a newly orphaned Mira and her kind struggle to survive and settle into a new way of life. Her main priority becomes seeing to Jackson’s care, her friend with Muscular Dystrophy, and tending to her garden as a way of distracting herself from the pain of losing everything she loved. But just as she’s adapting to this new life, their Elders approach her with a plan to insert themselves back into New America to uncover a conspiracy. A conspiracy, they believe, that includes the presidency and landed them on the island, costing many Changers their lives, including her parents’.

In a world where staying on the island means a possible untimely death, as does risking her life to uncover a horrible secret that might one day set them all free, which one will she choose? And if she chooses to help, can she tame her anger over their mistreatment long enough to make sure their plan goes off without a hitch? Because, after all, the last thing her kind needs is to make spectacles of themselves, and as she knows all too well, both anger and fear have a perilous knack for destruction.


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Purchase:
All proceeds from pre-orders are going to a local kid named Brayden who has Muscular Dystrophy.

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Fire in Frost by Alicia Rades | Book Review

(Crystal Frost #1)

Published: March 13th 2015

Synopsis:

Crystal Frost has spent her whole life believing she’s ordinary, and her mother has long held the secret of her heritage. When Crystal begins seeing the ghost of a dead classmate, her life spirals out of control. She’s faced with the threat that everyone will find out she’s a freak, as if the struggle to figure out her new-found abilities wasn’t enough pressure. Crystal has to find some way to save the people who have come to her for help all while trying to keep her abilities a secret. Will she be able to fulfill these overwhelming demands while solving the mystery that is the ghost of Olivia Owen?


Fire in Frost_bookcover
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My Rating: 3.5 stars 3.5/5 (Liked it)

Book Information

Publisher: PaperPlane Publishing

Genre(s): Young-adult, paranormal

Page Count: 244

Format: e-book


Note: I received a free digital copy of this book thanks to Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Hi there! Today I have a book review on Fire in Frost by Alicia Rades, an interesting paranormal book involving ghosts.

Quick Summary

When Crystal Frost finds out she’s psychic, her whole world spins out of control, especially when the ghost of a dead classmate, Olivia, appears to her, asking her to help someone. All the while Crystal must make sure no one finds out about her special abilities. Will Crystal be able to solve the mystery of Olivia, and stay on top of it all?Read More »

Jaded Little Lies by Christina Channelle | Book Review

(Four Letters #1)

Published: May 15th 2015

Synopsis:

What do you do when the love of your life is halfway across the world?

If you’re Jade Reamer, you fill that void with writing depressing song lyrics, hanging out with asshole exes, and re-reading your dead best friend’s diary (morbid, anyone?). But she’s got a lot to deal with—getting to know her biological family, for one. Not to mention getting through her first year of university without her best friend, Nina, by her side.

Then there are the men in Jade’s life. Her ex, Connor, has baggage coming out of his ass since the car accident. Her brother, Bryn, thinks stifling who he really is while pretending everything’s okay … is okay. When that’s far from the truth. And Reed? Reed decides the best way for Jade to deal with his absence is to get her a dog. And when he finally comes back?

Well, things aren’t exactly the same.

Deciphering between love and hate is the least of Jade’s problems …those four letter words are getting more and more complicated. Especially when she and Reed are keeping secrets from each other. Because as she forms new relationships and rekindles old ones, an unexpected surprise has got Jade’s mouth spewing lies on top of the usual curse words.

But little white lies won’t hurt anybody, right?

Note: This full-length novel follows the novella, Those Four Letter Words.


Jaded Little Lies_bookcover
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My Rating: 3.5 stars 3.5/5 (Liked it)

Book Information

Genre(s): Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Page Count: 191

Format: e-book


Note: I received a free digital copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours via Smashwords in exchange for an honest review.

Hi! Today I have a review on Jaded Little Lies (in case you haven’t guess already). This is the full-length novel that follows the prequel novella, Those Four Letter Words. Like TFLW, this book pleasantly surprised me. I’ve been reading a lot of YA, so I thought I would try to broaden my horizons by trying this book. As a NA novel, it was an enjoyable book full of raw, gripping emotion, alongside a tumbling romance and life struggles.

Quick Summary

Jade Reamer’s life is pretty messed up. Again. Having to deal with her boyfriend deployed, another family to deal with, things haven’t been exactly pretty. Especially when her boyfriend comes back, and things aren’t exactly the same between them. Will Jade ever get a reprieve from all the heartache and drama?

My Review

The plot was pretty good, I have to say. Again, I can’t say much without giving away spoilers, but this book definitely took me on an interesting ride. The plot incorporated several matters we see in real life, without sugar-coating it, and instead kept it real and authentic.

What I really appreciated in this book was how the author, Christina Channelle, kept the characters true to themselves. They were familiar, and the way they thought, or, in particular, how Jade thought, was fun to read. I enjoyed Jade in a way I didn’t think I would, I rooted for her, laugher with her, and overall really liked her. Sure, she had her faults, and sure, she made mistakes, but that only makes her human, not a bad person. All the characters really, were intriguing, and paired with the great writing style, felt real and emotional.

Which brings me to the writing style which really got me into the story as if Jade was talking to me. Not only that, it was comfortable and easy to read, without being too unnatural for the mood of the story.

Overall…

If you like NA, this is definitely a good book to pick up. I haven’t read that many NA books, but from what I’ve read, this books seems to be pretty mild as far as NA books go. I will mention that for readers a bit more strict with the content they read, this book does include coarse language, and some steamy scenes. However it also includes an authentic protagonist with an engaging and realistic storyline. It deals with realistic matters, overall an enjoyable NA contemporary romance and if you can deal with the above, it’s an enjoyable book.

Want to eat this? Don’t want to eat this? Your pick.

-A

Note: You don’t have to read the novella before reading this one, but I think it’s better that way.

Will Choose by Laura Catherine | Cover Reveal

Will-Choose-Laura-CatherineBOOK & AUTHOR INFO:
Title: Will Choose
Author: Laura Catherine
Series: Djinn #1.5
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young-Adult Will Choose by Laura Catherine
Publication date: July 27th 2015
Synopsis:

Will loves Kyra, but he know he can never be with her. He is Guardjinn and she is Djinn. Their love is forbidden.
He has a duty to his people. Will is a palace guard and after the Blooders attacked he is needed more than ever.
Will knows he should stay away from Kyra, but then why does he keep ending up at her house, watching her from a distance?

A choice is coming.
What will Will choose?
Love or duty?

LauraAUTHOR BIO:
Laura Catherine is Young Adult author focusing on Paranormal Romance, Dystopia, and Fantasy.She writes stories full of action, secrets, and magic. She loves creating worlds where anything is possible and everyone has a story to tell. She has an over-active imagination, spends a lot of her time daydreaming, and wishes pokemon were real so she would have one.Laura Catherine lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Author Links:


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Fabled by Vanessa K. Eccles | Book Blitz & Giveaway

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dark night forest agaist full moon

Book Details:

Title: Fabled

Author: Vanessa K. Eccles

Series Status: Stand-Alone

Publisher: Bound & Brewed

Publication Date: May 5th 2015

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


Synopsis:

Rowena thinks the Grimm’s infamous podcasts are simply another teen fad until she finds herself trapped in a land of nightmarish storybook characters. She tries desperately to flee Mezzanine and return home, but Dresdem, Mezzanine’s wicked monarch, plans to use Rowena’s access to her world to bring dark magic and absolute rule into Georgia and beyond.

But when Rowena’s dear friend Madeline falls into Dresdem’s grasp, her battle with him becomes war, and all hopes of home are temporarily thwarted. With the help of an invisible hero, a beast, and an owl, she sets out to free Madeline from a deadening sleep. But Rowena must become her own hero when she finds herself bound by the kingdom’s darkest family. She must make the ultimate choice – align herself with her enemies or live on the run forever.


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