Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Blitz + Giveaway: The Unseen by J.L. Bryan


Good evening awesome bookworms! I bring you today one of the books that currently tops my to-read list, and one I hope that you'll totally love! If you're looking for a creepy read to finish out October, look no further than The Unseen.

Cassidy is a young tattoo artist living in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta. She’s always suffered terrible nightmares, and sometimes the hideous creatures seem to follow her out of her dreams and into her waking life, though she’s the only one who can see them. Drugs and alcohol can blot them out, but never entirely chase them away.

When a demonic cult begins to take control of the people in her life, including her younger brother, Cassidy discovers that the unseen world of monsters is very real. She can no longer avoid it. To protect those she loves, she must accept her own hidden supernatural talents and face the forces of evil before the sinister cult achieves its twisted goals and casts the world into darkness.

Amazon / B&N / Author Site

Sound like something you'd like to read? Check out the excerpt below. I can guarantee you'll want to read on after this ;).

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The glass moved across the alphabet to the word YES in the upper left corner of the poster, scraping up glue and glitter from a sparkly red pentagram along the way.

“Who’s doing that? Are you doing that?” Reese asked Tamila, who shook her head, her wide eyes fixed on the board.

“Hello? Are you a spirit?” Barb asked.

The glass slid half an inch, then right back into place. YES again.

“Who are you?” Barb asked. “I mean, to whom do we have the pleasure of speaking?”

The wineglass lay still for a moment, then vibrated and hummed as if someone had plinked it with a fingernail. The glass slid over the alphabet.

Cassidy felt her heart racing. She hadn’t expected it to work at all, and it was starting to freak her out. She wished they hadn’t turned off the lights.

The wine glass smeared its way across the board, its entire rim glowing green now. It stopped at the letter N, and didn’t move again until Barb said the letter aloud. It stopped again on the I.

“N...I...” Barb said.

“Nipple?” Reese suggested.

The glass continued on to the B, then H...A...and then it stopped on Z.

“N-I-B-H-A-Z,” Barb said.

“It’s just nonsense,” Cassidy said.

The wineglass jerked under their fingers, then flew to the word NO, dragging their fingers with it.

“Who’s doing that?” Reese asked. “Is it you, Cassidy? Barb? It’s you, isn’t it, Barb? You big Goth girl.”

“Sh,” Barb said. “Nib...haz? Is that right?”

The wineglass zipped over to YES.

“What does that mean?” Cassidy asked.

The wineglass spelled out N...A...M...E.

“Your name is Nibhaz?”

YES.

“Sounds like a demon’s name to me,” Tamila said in a soft voice.

“Pfft, shut up,” Reese told her. “Like you would know.”

“Do you have a message for someone here, Nibhaz?” Barb asked.

YES.

“For who?” Barb asked.

C...A...S...S...

Cassidy felt her blood turn cold.

“Oh, shit, for Cassidy?” Reese asked.

YES.


“Nibhaz, what is your message for Cassidy?” Barb asked.

The four girls watched as the glass crept back and forth along the top row of text. D...I...E...

“Die? It’s telling her to die?” Tamila gasped.

“Sh, it’s not done yet,” Barb told her.

“Yeah, it’s not done yet,” Reese echoed, her eyes fixated on the glass.

Cassidy shivered, trying to think of any non-scary word that started with “die.”

“Diesel?” Cassidy asked in a shaky voice. She expected someone to laugh at her, but nobody did.

The glass moved back to the letter D.

“Died,” Barb said. “He’s saying he died, I think. He’s a ghost.”

The glass whipped over to the word NO, then returned to the letter D.

D...I...E..

D...I...E...

D...I...E...


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The Unseen by J.L. Bryan has a special release price of 99 cents through Halloween. See his website for details and links: http://jlbryanbooks.com/books/theunseen.html

J.L. Bryan studied English literature at the University of Georgia and at Oxford, with a focus on the English Renaissance and the Romantic period. He also studied screenwriting at UCLA. He enjoys remixing elements of paranormal, supernatural, fantasy, horror and science fiction into new kinds of stories.

He is the author of The Paranormals series (starting with Jenny Pox), The Songs of Magic series, Nomad, and other books. He lives in Atlanta with his wife Christina, his son John, and some dogs and cats.

Website: www.jlbryanbooks.com
Twitter: @jlbryanbooks


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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Review: Prayer for the Dead


Media Type: Ebook
Title: Prayer for the Dead
   *Series: Revenants in Purgatory #1
Author: Nicki Scalise
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: September 30, 2013
Source: Literati Author Services
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Genre: Paranormal Romance

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy paranormal romance with strong characters.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon /  BookLikes
A story about a girl who lived, died, and met a guy… in that order.

Is it possible to find true love and happiness, while condemned to purgatory until the end of days?

Olivia Brennan wasn't eager to find out. Working for a division of Purgatory and Associates, her job consisted of one headache after another, caused by the impatient souls waiting to move onto eternal paradise. After a hard day at work, she was most content to stay home, watching reruns or reading a book. Aside from a few friends occasionally forcing socialization, her afterlife was nothing special.

That all changed the moment Drake walked into her life. He was handsome, charming, and had a sadness behind his eyes she could relate to. It seemed that Fate had finally brought her a kindred spirit…

But could Olivia move past her own dark regrets of the life she left behind or would falling for him demand the ultimate sacrifice—herself?

Isn't this cover gorgeous?

Truly, I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened Prayer for the Dead. The prospect of getting a glimpse into the afterlife was enough to catch my attention. The fact that Olivia and I seemed to be kindred spirits and the addition of a hot, brooding guy were just icing on the cake. What I didn't expect was to be so lost in Olivia's story that I was unable to tear my eyes from the page. What a perfectly wonderful surprise.

Olivia stole my heart from the moment I met her. Her razor sharp wit, her easygoing manner, and the slight tinge of pain that lurked beneath her surface all meshed into something I could relate to. Olivia is strong, even if she has to fake it at times. I adored how layered her character was. Every choice she made, every hurt she endured, I was right there with her.

Meeting the other characters only further cemented my love for this book. Each of them had their own distinct personality; their own quirks that made them shine. Tore, Drake, Devon, Portia and Zane each had a piece of my heart by the end of the book. They weren't simply supporting characters. Nicki Scalise pours emotion and depth into every one of them and, I must admit, it'd be futile to try to pick a favorite.

I'm sure my character gushing has you wondering about the story surrounding them. Olivia's story is filled with dark pasts, secrets, and just the perfect amount of romance. The world built around her is solid and extremely interesting.  I thought this story was balanced almost the entire way through. It was only the ending, which does set up another book beautifully, that felt a bit rushed for me. I'm willing to overlook it. I'm too eager for the next book.

The point remains that Prayer for the Dead needs to be on your reading list. If you're a fan of Paranormal Romance, of strong characters with vivid pasts, this is your book.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Author Interview: Dianne K. Salerni

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Good morning friends, and welcome to a spotlight for an awesome book! Looking for something to read in the month of October? Something to celebrate Halloween? Very Supertitious might just be your next book!


The stories are based on urban legends, myths, tribal tales and superstitions from around the world. A charity anthology to benefit SPCA International with stories by Shannon Delany, Jackie Morse Kessler, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jennifer Knight, Marianne Mancusi, Michelle E. Reed, Dianne Salerni and Pab Sungenis.

Anthologies are my favorite, and this one has some of the authors I love most! I'll definitely be adding Very Supertitious to my reading list. You should add it to yours as well!

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1) Hi Dianne and welcome to the blog! Let's start simple. What three words would you use to describe yourself and why?

Thanks for having me here! Three words, huh? Creative, persistent, and is there a word for “not completely inside my own head?” My husband likes to tell our daughters, “Mommy is only partly here with us. Half her brain is in a story somewhere.” I think that describes me perfectly. Even when I’m busy at work (I’m a fifth grade teacher) some part of my brain is entertaining itself by making up a story. 


2) I noticed that you write fiction for both Middle Grade readers and Young Adult readers! Do you have a favorite of the two? 

When I started working on my first Middle Grade novel last year, I was excited to be writing a story I could share with the students I teach. I’ve been having a lot of fun getting that book ready for publication and working on others in the series. I can definitely say that I love Middle Grade fiction, with all its adventure and energy and wonder.

But I really miss having a romance in the story, which was an important part of my Young Adult novels. The Middle Grade book does have a tiny bit of romance -- not for the main character, but for two teenage friends of his. However, the romance takes place “off stage.” Part of me is tempted to write some secret scenes about what those two teens-in-love say to each other when their young friend is not around rolling his eyes and making snarky comments!

I suppose I will continue to write for both age groups, to satisfy all that I love about both types of literature.


3) What is one book you've read lately that you'd absolutely recommend?

Just one?! This summer I read and loved both MG and YA books such as The Beyonders Series by Brandon Mull, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy, and The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats. 

But if I had to pick one to recommend to readers everywhere, it would be Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Even though I generally prefer speculative and historical fiction to contemporary realistic fiction, Wonder is a Must Read for Everybody Everywhere.

I want to read it to my class this year, but I know I will cry. I will probably cry a lot. But maybe it will be good for them to see their teacher cry.


4) What would you say to readers who are thinking about picking up a copy of Very Superstitious?

I would tell prospective readers that Very Superstitious is a deliciously chilling collection of stories full of shapeshifters, fey creatures, gods, mysterious hitchhikers, witchcraft, and more than one surprise along the way.


5) I always like to end my interviews with a fun challenge question, so let's go! You have the chance to live in any time period for one week. What time period do you choose, and why? Is there anyone you'd look forward to meeting?

Only one?! Okay, I said that already. But really!? I’m fascinated with SO MANY periods of history!

All right, if I have to pick one, I know which one it has to be. This summer, my family visited the U.K. and I took the opportunity to investigate sites presumably linked to King Arthur. Sadly, what I discovered was there’s no real evidence for a historical King Arthur anywhere in Wales or England. If there was an Arthur, there are no artifacts left from his reign, and if Arthur is a legend based on a real ruler – we don’t know which one.

So I’d like to visit ancient Briton during the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasion and meet Arthur himself if he really existed – and if not, I want to meet the ruler who inspired his legends.
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DIANNE K. SALERNI is a fifth grade teacher by day and a writer by night. She's the author of YA historical novels, We Hear the Dead (Sourcebooks) and The Caged Graves (Clarion/HMH), and a forthcoming MG fantasy series, The Eighth Day (HarperCollins 2014).

The Caged Graves is a Junior Library Guild Selection, and We Hear the Dead was the inspiration for a 10 minute short film, The Spirit Game, which premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.http://vimeo.com/64738099

In her spare time, Dianne is prone to hanging around creepy cemeteries and climbing 2000 year-old pyramids in the name of book research.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Book Blitz + Giveaway: The Gravity Between Us by Kristen Zimmer


Ready for another awesome book spotlight my friends? Well far be it from me to keep that from you, so here you go! Today's spotlight is for The Gravity Between Us by Kristen Zimmer. Check it out!

Where does friendship stop and love begin?

At just 19, Kendall Bettencourt is Hollywood’s hottest young starlet with the world at her feet – but behind the glamour and designer dresses is a girl who longs for normal.

Payton Taylor is Kendall’s best friend since childhood, and the one person who reminds her of who she really is – her refuge from the craziness of celebrity life.
With her career taking off, Kendall moves Payton to LA to help keep her sane. But Payton is hiding a secret that could make everything ten times worse. Because to her, Kendall is more than a best friend – she is the only girl that she has ever loved.

Just as they need each other more than ever, they’ll have to answer the question of where friendship stops and love begins? And find out whether the feelings they have can survive the mounting pressure of fame…

The Gravity Between Us is a daring, romantic, emotional story about friendship, love, and finding the courage to be yourself in a crazy world.

New Adult novel: recommended for 17+ due to mature themes and sexual content
Sound like something you'd love to add to your reading list? Well, guess what? You can win a copy of your very own! Enjoy the interview with Kristen Zimmer below, and then enter at the end. Happy reading!

Add it:

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Q: The Gravity Between Us is a great title – where did that come from?

A: Thank you! I went through three titles before deciding on this one. Kendall actually says it in chapter six, “It’s like there’s gravity between us, like she’s the only thing anchoring me to the world, keeping me from floating off into the upper stratosphere and being lost in space.” I knew I had my title the second I wrote that line.

Q: What was the hardest part of writing The Gravity Between Us?

A: I often write late at night, so I’m usually beyond tired when I have to get up early the next morning. I’d say that’s the hardest part of writing in general.

Q: Despite half of the book being set in Hollywood, and one of the protagonists being an A-list movie star, your characters are very much normal girls – what came first for you, the setting or the characters?

A: The setting came first. I knew from the get go that this story was going to be about fame and the challenges that come with celebrity life.

Q: Your descriptions of celebrity life and designer dresses seem so real… do you have any real-life Hollywood connections that you’re not telling us about?

A: Ah! I think I’ll just continue to not tell you about it, keep everyone guessing.

Q: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

A: Oh god, I have an ever-growing list of favorite authors; it’s so impossible to choose only one. I really love Margaret Atwood. Malinda Lo and John Marsden are also on the top of the list. They all have such beautiful, descriptive prose, even though they’re quite different stylistically.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

A: The Gravity Between Us is my first novel, and it took me a very long while to get myself to sit down and start writing it; my life always seemed too hectic to fit it in. It’s easy to say, “I really don’t have the time, between work/ my children/ school/ etc…” So, if I had one piece of advice to give to other writers, it would be this: Just do it. Make the time, even if you can only afford to give yourself an hour a day before you pass out from exhaustion. The end result will be so worth it.


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Kristen is a New Jersey-based freelance writer and editor. A member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, she holds a B.A. in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing from Montclair State University. She also studied Music Performance with a focus on percussion instruments at Five Towns College. When not busy writing or burying her nose in books of the YA/New Adult fiction persuasion, Kristen enjoys spending time with her family, which includes two adorable Black Lab mixes and a very patient Better Half, and making electronic music. The Gravity Between Us, a contemporary New Adult Romance, is her first novel.

Author Links:
Website: http://authorkristenzimmer.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kristen_zimmer
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkristenzimmer
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7249070.Kristen_Zimmer

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FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Excerpt from Endless by Amanda Grey + Giveaway


Click the banner for more stops!

Good morning fellow bibliophiles, and happy Saturday!

I have a wonderful book to spotlight for you today! One that, in my opinion, has the most swoon-worthy cover I've seen in a long time. Amanda Gray is here today with her new book, Endless.

IN A RACE AGAINST TIME, HOW DO YOU KEEP THOSE YOU LOVE SAFE?

Jenny Kramer knows she isn’t normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them. When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumbles on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought.
Like a past life.

Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren’t alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has traveled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back. While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock -- and the Order -- the trio discovers a link that joins them in life -- and beyond death.

Books that center around past lives have always intrigued me. I can't deny that the Romanov Russia aspect of it all just makes me want to devour this even more! Still on the fence? Please enjoy this wonderful excerpt from the book, then scroll down to enter to win a giveaway! Don't forget to add Endless to your reading list as quickly as you can!

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EXCERPT


     The remnants of the dream drifted through Jenny’s consciousness. She knew that it was morning, could feel the press of golden light against her closed eyelids, but she wasn’t ready to let go of the dream. She clung to it, trying to force herself back to the big room, the shoddily painted fruit on canvas, the guy who had pressed the paper into her hand. She could still feel his skin against hers, see his eyes burning into her own.

     Nikolai. That had been his name.

     But remembering it didn’t help. The dream was gone, and so was he.

     She gave up, opening her eyes and picking up her cell from the bedside table. Nine a.m.

     She was exhausted, her eyes grainy and heavy. Not a great day to be tired. It might be the first day of summer, but she would be busy from the minute she stepped out of bed.

     She lay there for a few more minutes, thinking about the icy field and the progress she’d made the night before. By the time she’d finally stumbled to bed, the painting had felt perfect, but that was no guarantee. Sometimes a piece seemed just right in one light and all wrong in another. She was suddenly anxious to see it in the daylight, even though she knew it was too late to make any changes before the installation.

     She sat up, putting her feet over the side of the bed, but when she stepped down, something wet and cold touched the bottom of her right foot. “What the … ” she muttered aloud. The smell was unmistakable, but she touched her fingers to the sticky substance anyway, just to be sure.

     What was paint doing on the floor?


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ABOUT AMANDA GRAY:

Amanda Gray believes in magic and fantasy and possibilities. She is a team of two bestselling authors who live only miles apart but have never met in person. They talk on the phone and are the best of friends and between them have written more than a dozen novels and novellas and have had their work appear on television.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Review: Demon Dance


Media Type: Ebook
Title: Demon Dance
   *Series: A Sundancer Novel #1
Author: Brian Freyermuth
Publisher: Middark Press
Pages: Paperback; 332
Release Date: April 22, 2013
Source: Publisher
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Genre: Urban Fantasy

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy dark urban fantasy with some great characters!

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
You can run all you want, but the game's in your blood. And blood never forgets…

Nick St. James was born different. His extraordinary gifts have saved him time and time again, but they couldn't save the one thing he loved most: his wife.

Now he just wants to forget his old life, but more importantly, he wants to forget the magical underworld that lives beneath the "real" world. A place where a man's faith can determine the very fabric of reality. Where ancient forgotten gods walk hidden among us, and angels and demons fight for our very souls.

But nothing stays hidden forever. Nick's peaceful world is ripped apart when a demon slaughters his ex-partner and marks him for death. Now he must use all his gifts to find the one who summoned the nightmarish creature, but more importantly, he needs to find the one thing he lost long ago.

Himself.

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Urban Fantasy as a genre. I've fallen in love with the blend of the real world and mythological one. Being able to have one foot in reality, and another on an entirely different plane, makes for a read that I can't get enough of. Needless to say, I was eager to meet Nick St. James and see what wild events his story would drag me into. I wasn't disappointed my friends. Oh no, not at all.

First off let me gush about Nick St. James. Before I even knew anything about his pain filled past, I knew I adored him. He's just vulnerable enough, just kind enough, to make you feel the human part of him. Put someone he wants to protect in danger though, and all hell breaks loose. Nick is a character who channels into the deepest parts of himself, past the darkness, past the pain, to whatever it takes to keep the people he cares about safe. In my book, that absolutely makes him worth following. I ate it up, and went back for seconds.

Lucky for Nick, he's not alone. The cast of characters who come along with him are all just as strong and as vivid as he is. From his vampire sister-in-law, to his possible fling (who has her own secrets hidden away), each of them keeps him, and the story, moving right along. Not to worry, I won't spoil anything for you. I'll just say that there are some big players in this book. Some you'll recognize right away, others you might learn about while reading, but Nick is playing with the big leagues. The amount of action packed into Demon Dance is staggering, and wholly immersing.

The absolute only reason I gave this a four-star rating, rather than a five, is that it did take me a while to catch up with Nick. For the first few chapters, this book reads a bit like a second novel.  It unapologetically throws you right into the action. Keep reading on though, trust me. Nick's life is slowly unraveled throughout the story, and by the end you'll have a lot better insight into the man who kicks so much ass on these pages. I still have questions, but I'm hoping they'll be answered in the next book.

Long story short, this is a read that you need to get your hands on! If you're a fan of Urban Fantasy, Demon Dance is sure to easily soar to the top of your favorites list. I know I'm a fan. Bring it on.




Brian Freyermuth, an 18 year veteran in the gaming industry, started his career at Interplay Entertainment, serving as designer and writer on a number of titles including the award-winning post-apocalyptic role playing game Fallout, where he helped craft the story and create some of its most recognizable settings.
Brian was also granted the pleasure of writing the missions and dialog for the best-selling game, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. Working alongside William Shatner, George Takai and Walter Koenig gave Brian a new perspective on voice acting and dialog that influences his renowned style to this day.

In 2004, Brian ventured to the Pacific Northwest where he spent two years honing his design skills at Midway Games in Seattle. He then returned to Southern California, where he spent five years working on various influential brands under the THQ umbrella such as SpongeBob: SquarePants and WWE.

Brian's passion for storytelling would eventually lead to a wonderful opportunity to get back to his writing roots by joining Disney and Junction Point in 2011. During his time there, he co-wrote the story and dialog for the WGA Award Nominee Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, where he worked with comic book writer Marv Wolfman and industry legend Warren Spector to give Oswald the Lucky Rabbit a voice at Disney for the first time in 80 years.

Born in the quaint town of Manitou Spring, Colorado, where he grew up in the shadow of Pikes Peak, Brian moved to California as a teenager, eventually graduating from UC Irvine with a major in Comparative Literature and a minor in Computer Science, both of which he uses in his professional and personal careers. Brian is also a member of the Horror Writer's Association, and loves to write and play video games in his free time. He currently lives in Atlanta with his wife, Juliet, and their son, Kyle.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Author Interview: Laekan Zea Kemp, author of Breathing Ghosts


Happy Wednesday all! I'm hoping your week has gone smoothly so far and now you're looking forward to sailing into the latter half of it. To aid that transition, I have a wonderful author to spotlight!

Please welcome Laekan Zea Kemp, author of Breathing Ghosts to the blog!

She is a winding cosmos, bleeding and bursting into night. She is a dream. She is dead.

River has just lost the one thing that matters most to him—Nia—and all she's left behind is a pile of scribbled love notes detailing their past and a pin-holed map planning out their future. Hopes and dreams confined to one dimension now that she's gone and River’s too afraid to leave his hometown, crippled by the same anxiety that’s plagued his mother for as long as he can remember.

But after a strange encounter with the only girl he ever loved a week after laying her to rest, River, armed with nothing but her map and his memories, decides to finally leave and never look back. And with the help of a pair of eccentrically named siblings as well as a mutt with three legs, he sets out to do the very thing Nia always knew how to do better than he ever could—live.

From the moonlit beaches off of Florida's east coast, to the forests of Mississippi, to Bourbon Street, Cadillac Ranch, and the Arizona desert, River is faced with not only Nia's ghost but his own and he learns that in life there are no accidents, only miracles.

You all know that I'm a huge fan of Indie authors, and Laekan happens to be an NA author who is trying to branch out from the contemporary romance that is so prevalent in this new age group. Looking for a different read? Why not check out one of Laekan's books? While you're adding those, please also enjoy an interview with her, and a giveaway at the bottom! Happy reading!

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1) Hi Laekan, and welcome to the blog! Let's start by getting to know you. What three words would you use to describe yourself, and why?

Curious. Thoughtful. Dreamer.

I'm your classic introvert and always in my own head. Daydreaming is absolutely my favorite thing to do and I love looking at every aspect of life as a kind of puzzle--from social interactions to trends to human emotion--I'm always trying to figure things out.


2) If we were to take a glimpse into your reading pile, what would we find as your next read?

I'm getting ready to dive into The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater, although I've been hesitating because I can't decide whether I'd rather read it myself or have Will Patton read it to me. I loved his voice work on The Raven Boys!


3) Is there a book that you wish you could recommend to everyone?

Anything by Melina Marchetta. The YA market especially has been inundated with trends from dystopian to paranormal romance and contemporary has really been pushed to the side. That was the genre I first fell in love with and I think a lot of readers don't expect contemporary novels to take them on the same kind of journey as something with a technological or supernatural twist. But the truth is real life can be just as magical if not more sometimes!


4) What do you enjoy about being a New Adult writer? Are there any challenges?

I actually didn't realize that I was even writing in the New Adult category until the release of my third book. I was just writing books that I wanted to read about the age group that was closest to my own and that's still the aspect of writing in NA that I love most. People have been writing upper YA for a long time but there was always this gap for people 18 and over and a lot of authors had trouble navigating what was and wasn't appropriate in order for a story to fit into a particular age category. With the explosion of NA suddenly we have all of this freedom to explore things we'd always been hesitant to write about before.

Unfortunately, that's also where I've found challenges. The first sub-genre to really take off under the NA category was contemporary romance, which is what most people associate with this type of fiction. But my books don't necessarily fall under that genre and it's been a struggle figuring out how to market my books as NA without giving people a false impression of what they're about. My goal is for the NA category to really expand and for people to realize that it is an age category and not a genre and that all of their favorites from dystopian to epic fantasy to steampunk can exist under the umbrella of NA.


5) What would you say to potential readers of Breathing Ghosts?

For anyone even considering getting a copy of my book, I'd just like to say thank you. Truly. It means so much when a reader takes a chance on your book and it means even more when you're an indie author. So I'd like to thank not just every reader who's picked up a copy of my book but every reader who supports indie authors and who so selflessly and enthusiastically champions books that might otherwise stay invisible.


6) Challenge question time! I love these.

You're headed on a week long trip and you only have space in your luggage for two books. What two books do you take with you, and why?

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb because it's a whopping 1,000 pages and I've been meaning to re-read it and probably Froi of The Exiles since that's the next book on my TBR list.

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Laekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multi-cultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn't Bury, Orphans of Paradise, and the upcoming Breathing Ghosts. Follow her adventures on Goodreads, on her blog, or on Twitter.



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FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Book Review: Pendomus


Media Type: Ebook
Title: Pendomus
   *Series: Pendomus Chronicles #1
Author: Carissa Andrews
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: October 10, 2013
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
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Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy stories filled with action and adventure.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon
Humanity has colonized on the tidally locked planet Pendomus.

Residing between extreme heat and frigid cold is the complex known as the Helix. Within lies a highly sophisticated society functioning solely on humans fulfilling their life’s purpose as determined by their natural aptitudes and daily brain scans.

Seventeen-year-old Runa Cophem has found her calling studying the ancient trees nearby and anxiously awaits a professional placement which will allow her to continue her work.

Runa’s life takes an unforeseen turn when she’s brutally attacked and left for dead in those woods. Rescued by a stranger with blue hair, she’s immersed into a surprising way humanity has survived without the Helix. Fueled by a yearning to understand and an attraction she didn’t even know was possible, Runa tries to make a new life for herself. Yet, there’s much she doesn’t know about herself, about the planet, and the forces controlling her from afar.

What she needs are some answers.

I won't deny that it was the synopsis that drew me to Pendomus in the first place. It had a decidedly sci fi feel to it, and I was intrigued by the fact that it revolved around humans who had colonized another planet. While it took a bit for me to fall in line with the characters and their story, Pendomus did impress me. It's a different read, and that alone kept me reading on.

I wasn't expecting Pendomus to be told in two different points of view. Runa is the main character, and narrates most of the chapters, but Traeton narrates as well. I liked Runa straight off. Her passion for nature spoke to me. I was excited to see where it would take her. Then Traeton came into the picture, and I fell in love. Sweet and helpful, he was the perfect yin to Runa's yang. Although I thought their relationship moved a little too quickly, they absolutely work well together.

In all honesty, it was the plot that initially lost me. Things started moving quickly, and I found myself floundering for the first few chapters. Instead of building up Runa's home, and Traeton's life, Pendomus throws you straight into the fray. It took me a while to find my bearings, to start to uncover why Runa was against Helix, and to understand why Traeton would want to live separate from the others. It is an odd start, but it all converged into an interesting story. Being set on a different planet allows the characters to have their own societal norms and their own mythology. Once I found my footing, I enjoyed it all.

I'd say that readers of both Fantasy and Science Fiction will find a lot to enjoy in Pendomus. As long as you're willing to take the beginning with a grain of salt and keep reading on, you'll find a solid story between these pages. The copy I read had a few grammatical issues, but it was an advanced copy. The author informed me that the finished copy is great! Add this to your reading list if you're looking for something to whisk you away to a brand new place.






FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, October 14, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (10/14/2013)


Happy Monday everyone! Yes, yes I know. No one really loves Mondays do they? Or maybe you do if they are the start to your weekend, but despite that it's a new week and I demand we make it fabulous! Bring on a good week! Preferably with some great reads? Here's what I've been up to.





Last week I made it through three different books. Two were for blog tours, and Scorched I read purely for the fun of it! You've got to keep things fresh, right? All of them garnered 3 stars from this reader, although Scorched ended up my favorite. I'm hoping for more "wow factor" in my reads this week!





I'm listening to Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews. I'm seriously obsessed with this series. Not only is Kate Daniels a fabulous character, but Renee Raudman is an awesome narrator! I'm also reading (and almost done with) Pendomus by Carissa Andrews for a blog tour.




Next up I'm tackling Endless by Amanda Gray (look at that cover!) and Help for the Haunted by John Searles! I'm really excited for both and I even have a giveaway for one of them ;). Yay!


That's it for me! What are YOU reading this week? Don't forget to leave a link so I can go and visit you too!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Book Review: Scorched


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Scorched
   *Series: Scorched #1
Author: Mari Mancusi
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: Hardcover; 352
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Source: NetGalley
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Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love action and adventure mixed with dragons!

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N / BookLikes
Trinity
Don’t leave me here... It starts with a whisper. At first Trinity thinks she’s going crazy. It wouldn't be a big surprise—her grandpa firmly believes there’s a genuine dragon egg in their dusty little West Texas town. But this voice is real, and it’s begging for her protection. Even if no one else can hear it...

Connor
He’s come from a future scorched by dragonfire. His mission: Find the girl. Destroy the egg. Save the world.

Caleb
He’s everything his twin brother Connor hates: cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons.


Trinity has no idea which brother to believe. All she has to go by is the voice in her head—a dragon that won’t be tamed.

What is my favorite mythical creature, you ask? The answer would definitely have to be dragons. I love everything about them, from their scaly hides to their impressive wingspan. Maybe it's because of my addiction to Fantasy, but I'm a dragon fan! Needless to say, I was extremely excited to read Scorched. I already love Mari Mancusi's writing, but then adding in dragons? That's a win in my book!

The first third of the book knocked my socks off. I adored Trinity from the start, and I loved that she was so close with her grandfather. Mancusi slowly built up a story where a boy from the future, and a girl from the present were intertwined in an amazing way. Connor has been sent back to get rid of the threat that will lead to the apocalypse in his time, but once he meets Trinity he just can't shake his feelings for her. Sound slightly sweet? I'd agree! I loved Trinity and Connor during this part of the book, and the added action kept me reading on.

Then Caleb came into the picture and things changed. I can't really explain too much without spoiling things for potential readers, but the twin aspect is a little weird. Caleb is supposed to be the exact opposite of Connor but, in all honesty, they are pretty similar. I was introduced to the Draken, to the Nether, and to the way dragons were born. So much squished into one part of the book made the ending feel more than a little rushed. If only the ending had been as well done as the beginning, I would have given this a much higher rating. I enjoyed the world building, liked the characters, and of course loved the dragons. It was really the pacing that was off.

I'm willing to forgive a lot, since this is the first book in the series. Truth be told, I know for a fact I'll be back to read more of Trinity's story. I can't wait to see what happens to her, to Connor (who is my favorite by the way) and to the dragons. A bit of a slow start, but I know things will pick up. Bring on more dragons!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review: The Grotto Under the Tree


Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Grotto Under the Tree
Author: John A. Theo Jr.
Publisher: Astrea Press
Pages: Ebook; 139
Release Date: February 15, 2013
Source: CBB Book Promotions
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Content Screening: Mild Fantasy Violence

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Young readers who enjoy short and sweet fantasy reads

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Sebastian and Sara mistakenly descend into a mystical land where elves, mermaids, gnomes and other mythological creatures live. The two discover they have stumbled into an ancient battle between these fair folk and evil creatures called the Kylo. Their guide on this journey is Capri, an elf lord who is on a quest to find his lost tribe. The Kylo chase the children and Capri in his flying galleon north into the Arctic Circle where they find the most unlikely ally. During the final battle the children learn about sacrifice, love and ultimately forgiveness.

My favorite way to read Middle Grade fiction is to go into as if I was a  young reader. I love to take the story at face value, get lost in it, look at it as both a young and an older reader. To me, the best kind of MG fiction is that which can peak the interest of any reader, no matter what the age! All of that being said, I thought that The Grotto Under the Tree had a lot of potential. Charming and fun, this is an easy romp in a new world.

It did take me a bit to get fully immersed in this story. Being a shorter read, things move very quickly for our young heroes. I found Sara and Sebastian to be very brave and fun to follow. Each a bit impulsive, and yet courageous, watching them navigate this magical land was intriguing. I loved how they played off one another. When one was scared, the other compensated. They were great at coming up with ideas to get out of sticky situations and, when it counted, they were always there for one another. I see a lot young readers will love in these two.

The thing that took me a while to get used to was how juvenile the dialogue between these two was. I don't mean this as a jab. What I mean is that the children come at problems exactly how a young reader might. Their solutions are simple, the fights are minimal, and things move effortlessly from one event to the next. As an older reader, I missed some of the action. I missed having even that minimal amount of tension that keeps me turning pages. Still, to the age group that this is aimed at, I'm sure it will be more than enough.

Overall, The Grotto Under the Tree was a quick and fantasy filled read. Young readers who love mermaids, talking animals, and any number of other fantasy elements, will likely fall in step with Sara and Sebastian very easily. If you have a reader at home who is looking for their next read, give The Grotto Under the Tree a shot.




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FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

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