Monday, June 30, 2014

Book Review: Chase Tinker and the House of Secrets by Malia Ann Haberman

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Chase Tinker and the House of Secrets
   *Series: Chase Tinker #2
Author: Malia Ann Haberman
Publisher: Crossroad Press
Pages: Kindle; 224
Release Date: January 2, 2014
Source: Author
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love magic and mystery. Or those who want to continue on with this series.

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
In Chase Tinker's world, magic, lies and secrets can be a lethal combination...

After spending the summer at his grandfather's gigantic, incredibly magical house, thirteen-year-old Chase Tinker thought things couldn't get any more bizarre, or that the secrets and lies couldn't get any worse, but he was wrong.

As summer turns into Autumn, join Chase and his family for even more magical craziness in this exciting sequel to "Chase Tinker and the House of Magic." Craziness that will include: the sneezing of strange powers, the reappearance of the evil Marlowe family, another frightening kidnapping, the discovery of a mysterious, magical Japanese-American girl, a dangerous rescue mission, and a secret so mind-boggling, it will lead to a shocking climatic finish that will turn Chase's world completely upside down and leave him feeling like one of the worst people on the planet.
Chase Tinker and the House of Secrets takes the reader back into the Tinker's world. A world filled with mystery and magic. A world where nothing is quite what it seems. I was so excited to head back to the Tinker home! With its rooms full of amazing powers, how could I resist making a return visit? I was looking forward to seeing what kind of mischief Chase and his cohorts would get up to this time.

Lucky for me, things took off at a brisk pace right from the beginning. Still recovering from the lies his father told him, and the attack they successfully thwarted, poor Chase is an understandable mess. He's trying to build his life back up around him, and patch up the holes in the trust he has for others. I felt for him. Imagine being lied to by the one person who you thought you knew the best and, moreover, loved as well. It would be tough. Little did I know that Chase would be soon be facing much bigger problems.

Yes, things take a dark turn in Chase Tinker and the House of Secrets. Where the first book had a bit of tension, but was mostly lighthearted, this story delves much deeper into the secrets and lies. There are betrayals among family members, deeply seated animosity that bubbles to the surface, and a fair share of twists that kept me reading on. What I liked about this particular installment, was that it showed the power of family. Despite it all, it was his newfond family that kept Chase moving on.

Daring rescue missions, epic (and slightly violent) battles, and cunning plans all make a debut in this installment of Chase Tinker's story. He also comes into his own much more, and I was wholly impressed by how much he's grown up in the span of this particular book. I was both thrilled, and saddened, at the ending. Will I be back for more? Most definitely. I can't wait to see where this story takes me next.

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.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review: Chase Tinker and the House of Magic (Chase Tinker #1) by Malia Ann Haberman

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Chase Tinker and the House of Magic
   *Series: Chase Tinker #1
Author: Malia Ann  Haberman
Publisher: Crossroad Press
Pages: Kindle; 248
Release Date: August 13, 2012
Source: Author
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love stories filled with magic and brave heroes/heroines. 

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
In Chase Tinker's world, magic, lies and secrets can be a lethal combination...

Thirteen-year-old Chase Tinker can't understand why he has the power to move things with his mind. Besides that, his dad has been missing for over a year, causing his mom to be too upset to pay much attention to her sons, so now he's been busted for shoplifting. As if this isn't enough to worry about, his younger brother Andy suddenly has a weird magical ability too. Can things get any crazier? Chase thinks.

Then, a grandfather they thought to be long dead arrives at their door. He wants Chase and Andy to come visit him so they can learn about their supernatural heritage, and why they have magical powers in the first place.

The boys soon find out that Grandfather, along with their cousin Janie, lives on a remote island in the middle of Puget Sound in an out-of-this-world house where fantastic magic can be found in practically every room, stairway and corridor. Chase can't believe their dad has been keeping so much from them.

Now Chase must find a way to stop these evil beings, while at the same time figuring out what has happened to his dad, unraveling even more Tinker lies and secrets and not letting on that he has a huge crush on the housekeeper's daughter.

Ah, to live in a world filled with magic. The one escape that I'll never get too old for is one to a magical place! Trust me. Reading Chase Tinker and the House of Magic spoke to the little kid who still shelters inside me. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I love Middle Grade books. Books with child heroes, perfectly evil villains, and just the right amount of whimsy tend to capture my heart. So I was very much looking forward to seeing where Chase Tinker's story would lead me.

Chase is a fabulous main character, and one that I see all readers warming to. He's this perfect mix of funny, awkward, and brave. Younger readers will probably see a little bit of themselves in Chase. He squabbles with his brother Andy, but is also fiercely protective of him. He's brave when he needs to be, but also makes rash decisions sometimes. In other words? Chase is a normal kid. With crazy emotions, adorable crushes, and the want to be a man before his time. He's relatable, and fun to follow.

In fact each and every character in Chase Tinker and the House of Magic comes alive on the page. I was introduced to the Tinker family a bit at a time, and I found myself adoring each and every person presented to me. Well, except for the villains of our story, of course. They were also well done, in that they came across as just what they were meant to be: undeniably evil. The Marlowes give the Tinkers something to fight against, and that's where all the magic really becomes a vital part of the story.

Oh, and the house! I could gush on and on about the titular home filled with magic. With rooms full of the most interesting powers imaginable, I'd be perfectly content to do nothing but read about Chase and his friends exploring this amazing place. I refuse to spoil even a minute of that for potential readers. I'll honestly say that it was my favorite part of the read. I loved getting lost in the Tinker's home, and I'll happily go back. That, and the ending absolutely has me wanting more.

So if you're looking for a book for your budding reader, or even a read for yourself to get lost in, I'd suggest picking up Chase Tinker and the House of Magic. It's definitely a fun place to spend a few hours getting lost in!

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.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bloomsbury's Six Month Sparkiversary Giveaway!

It's a Sparkiversary Celebration! 
Bloomsbury Spark is turning six months old, and that means it's time to do some serious celebrating. What does this mean for you, dear readers? It means lots of great books for you to choose from, and the chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite filled with some great books! But first, let's check out what books Bloomsbury Spark has to offer, shall we?

Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iTunes
Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iTunes
Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iTunes
Amazon Nook Kobo | iTunes
Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iTunes
Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iTunes
Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iTunes
Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iTunes
Amazon | Nook | Kobo
Amazon | Nook | Kobo
Bloomsbury | Nook
Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iTunes
Aren't they all gorgeous? I certainly think so! Now, for the GIVEAWAY that Bloomsbury is offering up! It's open to the U.S. and Canada, and it's a great one! You'll win a Kindle Paperwhite filled with all the awesome titles listed below!

The Sound of Us by Ashley Poston
The Art of Falling by Jenny Kaczorowski
The Secret of Isobel Key by Jen McConnel
Her Secret Inheritance by Jen McConnel
Positively Mine by Christine Duval
Deliver Me by Kate Jarvik Birch
Pride’s Run by Cat Kalen
Road to Somewhere by Jenny S. Morris and Kelley Lynn
Beyond Our Stars by Marie Langager
The Mapmaker’s Daughter by Caroline Dunford
Until We End by Frankie Brown
An ARC of My Soon-To-Be Sex Life by Judith Tewes

I love when we're the one who get presents on a birthday. Happy Birthday Bloomsbury Spark, and good luck to all my readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Audio Book Review: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Media Type: Audio Book
Title: These Broken Stars
   * Series: Starbound #1Author: Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Narrator: Christine Holloway, Johnathan McClain
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Format: MP3 Download
Length: 11 hours and 15 minutes
Source: Library
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Fans of romance and science fiction blended together in a beautiful way.

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they're worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other's arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder-would they be better off staying here forever? Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won't be the same people who landed on it.The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.

Narrator Review:
It took me a little bit to warm up to McClain, but Holloway stole my breath from the beginning! After a few chapters, you couldn't have told me that these characters sounded like anything other than what their narrators built them up to be. It was flawless. Holloway brings through the varying emotions that Lilac experiences perfectly, and McClain is so very swoon-worthy as Tarver. Highly recommended!

5/5 - Well worth a listen!

Book Review:
I remember the first time I read These Broken Stars fondly. After reading, I had so many varying emotions pent up inside of me that I couldn't focus enough to write a review. The words just wouldn't come. What could I say to convey the way that this book made feel? So I let it sit, and then I forgot about it, and now I'm back to remedy that lapse. I chose the audio book this time around and I'm sincerely glad I did. By the time I reached the ending, I could imagine Lilac and Tarver no other way than how their narrators portrayed them. It was perfection. 

As a reader who generally has no love for spoiled rich girls, I never expected to love Lilac as much as I did. I wasn't expecting her to be so damn easy to like. I loved her fire. Loved the way she held herself, even when there was no one around to look. Was so impressed by her overwhelming desire to make something better for herself. This girl isn't a spoiled princess. She's a warrior. Then there's Tarver. The handsome soldier, with a past filled with regret. He's as swoon-worthy as they get ladies and gentlemen. His whole persona screams charm, and you'd be hard pressed to ignore that. These two together were like fire and ice, and it was a beautiful thing to watch as they slowly came to understand one another. 

That is, in fact, what made These Broken Stars such a stellar read for me. The vast majority of this book focuses on just one thing: Lilac and Tarver. While they navigate an unknown planet, and try to survive, the whole time it's just the two of them adapting to life as a team. I couldn't help but fall for their chemistry. There's no insta-love here. No simpering girls. Just a man, and a woman, who only have one another left. Lilac and Tarver aren't perfect, and their relationship takes work. That's my kind of romance. 

Throw these characters into a gorgeous story, with twists and turns around every corner, and you have my heart. Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have managed to take a romance story, blend it perfectly with science fiction, and then wrap it all up with a beautifully written bow. There was nothing I didn't love about this book. This was my second time experiencing These Broken Stars, and it still managed to surprise me. That, my friends, makes this a five star read for me. 

So if you haven't already taken the time to give These Broken Stars a place on your reading list, I'd highly suggest that you do. I'm so looking forward to the next book in this series. I want all the Lilac and Tarver there is!

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, June 24, 2014

Guest Post: Dan Levinson, on chapter structure


Good afternoon darling bookworms! I know this post is coming at you a little late, but for those of you who are writers (or aspiring writers for that matter) this will be something you'll love! Dan Levinson is on the blog today, as he tours his new book Fires of Man. This book is filled with all kinds of Science Fiction goodness, and one I'd definitely suggest to fans of the genre! Check it out.

Supposedly, the war between Calchis and Orion ended decades ago. But upon reporting to an isolated Orion army base for basic training, Private Stockton Finn learns the war still rages, only the weapons have changed—most disturbingly of all, Finn has been selected to become one of those weapons.

Across the border, young Calchan farm boy Aaron Waverly learns all too well just how determined his country is to win the war when he is abducted from his family's property by a sinister government operative known only as Agent. Finding himself trapped in dreary new surroundings, learning deadly skills he's never before imagined, Aaron struggles to reconcile his ephemeral faith with his harsh new reality.

As the two nations hurtle toward a resurgence of open hostilities, Finn and Aaron, along with their new friends and mentors, must rush to prepare themselves for the inevitable clash. All the while, a new archaeological find in the frozen tundra far to the north hints that the brewing conflict may only be the first of their worries...
If you'd like, you can read my review for my take on Fires of Man. Otherwise, please enjoy the guest post from Dan Levinson himself that is below! It's all about chapter structure and, in my opinion, rather intriguing.


On Chapter Structure

A question was posed to me recently, about how one should structure chapters, how to make them feel satisfying and complete.

I like to think of a chapter as a complete "movement" within the story. Between the beginning and end, there is an arc; there is motion. One trick I learned from my mentor Jake Krueger back when I studied screenwriting was "first image" and "last image." When I started writing Fires of Man, I translated this concept to fiction as "first moment" and "last moment," and used this tool to quickly envision a complete arc, a complete "movement" as soon as I began the chapter. As you continue to write and hone your instincts, you'll start to recognize what a satisfying and complete arc is.

For example, say you're writing a crime thriller. At the start of a given chapter, your "first moment" is the hero running from the mysterious killer. What sort of "last moment" would make that chapter a complete movement? Would we want to end it with the hero still on the run? Nah, that's not very satisfying. There's no arc to it. Well, maybe the hero escapes safely. Being on the run, to escaping, however, doesn't feel like a full arc; it only feels like a straight arrow, a movement without a rising and falling action. He runs, he escapes. So what, then?

This is where we can bring in another great tool which goes all the way back to Aristotle's "Poetics." This is the "reversal." A fundamental shift in circumstances that provides a complete movement from the "first moment" to the "last moment."

Using the example of the hero and the killer, if our "first moment" is the hero running from the killer, the natural "last moment" that might emerge from a significant reversal is the killer being apprehended by the hero. The first moment, the hero running, and the last, the killer being apprehended, actually have multiple reversals. There's the reversal of literal physical movement, high-octane action, to a moment of pause and relief when the action ends. There's the reversal of circumstances, from the hero being the one at risk, to the killer being at his mercy. There's the reversal of the hero's mentality, from the drive to catch this killer, to the thought of what comes next: the trial, accolades, or perhaps thoughts of taking revenge on the killer, murdering him in cold blood (thus providing another reversal, of the hero becoming a killer himself!). Now, were we to decide the hero arrests the killer, and the "first moment" of the next chapter is the killer being brought in, then unless this is the end of the book (or even if it is!), the "last moment" of the next chapter should be the killer's escape, or some other unexpected reversal that improves the killer's position.

In addition to the "reversal," Aristotle also talks about the "recognition." What if the hero unmasks the killer and it's someone he knows? His partner on the force? His brother? That, of course, carries reversals with it as well, but can function as the primary "last moment." That is, if the "first moment" is the hero on the run from a killer whose identity is unknown, the "last moment" could be the reveal, the "recognition" moment, where the hero discovers the killer's identity (though, of course, the whole chase scene should still come to an end somehow).

If you play around with these elements—first and last moment; complete arc or movement; reversal; and recognition—you'll soon start to get the hang of it.


Dan Levinson is a Long Island-based fiction writer and librettist.

His fiction works include the YA fantasy novel, The Ace of Kings, and the horror novella Bright Orchards. His debut novel, the sci-fi war drama Psionic Earth, is due out Spring 2014 from Jolly Fish Press. He is contracted for two sequels to be released in the following years. His musical, Bathory, a historical look at the political machinations behind the story of the "Blood Countess," was co-written with his brother, composer/lyricist David Levinson, and was a NYMF finalist in 2009.

Dan has studied with authors Irini Spanidou and John Reed, playwright Daniel Goldfarb, and screenwriter Jacob Krueger, among others. He is a member of the Paragraph NY writer’s workspace, and can frequently be seen attending their monthly events. He graduated from NYU with a BFA in 2007.

Dan has fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by body pain that is believed to be due to overactive nerves. Nevertheless, he lives a very active life. He hopes that one day he will have a platform where he can bring about greater awareness for this condition, and encourage more research to be done into its cause and potential long-term solutions.

He currently resides on Long Island with his family, his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Stealer, and Sheila the tail-wagging tabby cat.
Find him:

Monday, June 23, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (6/23/14)
Click above to join in the fun!

It's a new week, and  that means it's time to share what I'm reading! I love this meme, because it's a ton of fun to discover new books from other's book shelves :). Let's do this!

I was given a copy of Fires of Man by Dan Levinson himself, and reviewed it on the blog as part of his blog tour. I'll be posting a guest post of his tomorrow as well! I read Gone Girl as a buddy read with one of my author friends on BookLikes :). Thank goodness for that. I had no love for this book, but it was much more enjoyable to read with someone else.

I'm doing a re-read of Some Quiet Place, because I never reviewed it the first time around. I'm already remembering why I loved this book so much. It's so atmospheric, and just sad. Antigoddess is the book club pick of the month for June! So far I'm loving it, and totally upset that I've had to slow down and stick to the reading schedule :). It's just too good!

Next up is The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick. I've had this book on wishlist list for a good while, and an awesome friend on BookLikes gifted it to me this past weekend. So excited to read! I love Middle Grade books with a passion.
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!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Book Review: Fires of Man (Psionic Earth #1) by Dan Levinson

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Fires of Man
   *Series: Psionic Earth #1
Author: Dan Levinson
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Pages: Paperback; 400
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Source: Author
Genre: Science Fiction

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love sweeping science fiction with memorable characters.

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
Supposedly, the war between Calchis and Orion ended decades ago. But upon reporting to an isolated Orion army base for basic training, Private Stockton Finn learns the war still rages, only the weapons have changed—most disturbingly of all, Finn has been selected to become one of those weapons.

Across the border, young Calchan farm boy Aaron Waverly learns all too well just how determined his country is to win the war when he is abducted from his family's property by a sinister government operative known only as Agent. Finding himself trapped in dreary new surroundings, learning deadly skills he's never before imagined, Aaron struggles to reconcile his ephemeral faith with his harsh new reality.

As the two nations hurtle toward a resurgence of open hostilities, Finn and Aaron, along with their new friends and mentors, must rush to prepare themselves for the inevitable clash. All the while, a new archaeological find in the frozen tundra far to the north hints that the brewing conflict may only be the first of their worries...

It's been quite a while since I carved out a block of time to read a Science Fiction Epic. Once upon a time, these were a regular part of my reading regime. It's the huge worlds that are built, the ample amount of characters that come to life on the page, and the stories that feel bigger than anything I could imagine, that keep drawing me back into books like this. What caught my eye specifically about Fires of Man, was that it dealt with psionic powers. Imagine the ability to harness the energy around you, and channeling it to perform amazing feats. Summoning balls of fire in your hands, creating personal shields, and even throwing a person across the room without ever touching them. It's hard not be caught up in the idea of that. Which is why, quite honestly, I wanted to get my hands on this book.

It bears mentioning that it took me a while to become invested in this story. Fires of Man is told from multiple points of view, and it felt a little jarring to be shuttled back and forth between so many minds. What I liked about this, was that I had the ability to see the war from both sides. Levinson includes characters from the two camps of this war. All of which have their own flaws and vices. It was nice to see these characters through the eyes of others. The problem was, at least for me, that there were a lot of them. If I counted correctly, there are 7 different people to follow in this book. That's tough for anyone to keep track of.

The other issue with this layout, was that not every story overlaps. While the good majority of these characters at some point have converging stories, Faith's felt completely out in left field. She was the only character who had any resolution, not counting any who may have met gruesome ends, and so I when I reached the conclusion of the book I was confused. Did her story have a point here? It's possible that she'll make a comeback in the second book, thus making it necessary for her to be introduced here, but I don't know. For now, she felt out of place. Add in the fact that I felt the ending to be rather abrupt, and I was left feeling a little lost.

What this book does well though, is the storytelling. Fires of Man is rich with descriptive writing, drawing the reader into the world that Levinson has built for this psionic war. While most of the settings are similar to our world, they take on a life of their own. I found myself intrigued by the idea of two separate groups of psionic warriors, two sets of people who have unlimited power, as the only thing stopping the other side from harming the rest of the world. It's a large concept, and one that I'll happily follow.

So although I had a little bit of trouble with the way this story was presented, it definitely captured my imagination. I'm happy to have been introduced to Dan Levinson's writing, and I can't wait for more!

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, June 17, 2014

Audio Book Review: Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

Media Type: Audio Book
Title: Landry Park
Author: Bethany Hagen
Narrator: Leslie Bellair
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Format: MP3 CD
Length: 7 hours 50 minutes
Source: Library
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Fans of dystopian fiction, science fiction and historical romance!

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal

In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won't allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty - her family and the estate she loves dearly - and desire.

Narrator Review:
Not too impressed with Leslie Bellair's narration, honestly. It felt very flat, and that made Madeline feel like a very boring character. I kept wishing for more emotion in her reading! Still, she is an easy voice to follow along with. I just wouldn't listen to an audio book from this narrator again.

2/5 - I'd recommend reading this instead.

Book Review:
Here's the thing: I don't like flighty female characters. I have a hard time associating with female protagonists who whine, worry, and change their opinions of things every other chapter. In Landry Park, however, it's hard to fault Madeline for being the way she is. Raised as a gentry girl, in opulence and wealth, she's a product of her environment. To Madeline, her home is everything. Her title, is everything. Every now and then I saw this little spark of rebellion in her, and I'd start to cheer, and then it'd vanish under the promise of everything she had being taken away. Can I blame her? Not really. Did I like her? Not so much. 

What saved the book for me were the secondary characters. I loved David, and his dashing personality. I loved Kara, because she was everything Madeline was not. These two really pulled the story along. Nothing would have happened if it wasn't for them. I'm sure Madeline would have been content to stay at home, blind to the suffering of others, and wrapped in decadent dresses. All the pieces of the plot that revolved around her were just so blase. I never truly believed she cared about anything else, much less helping others.

The other issue with Landry Park is that you really have to let go and take everything with a grain of salt. This book takes place in the future, but there are debutantes and a caste system. This is a world of oppression and technology mixed together. I didn't really think about it until the end of the story, but it honestly doesn't make much sense. It's one of those settings you just have to accept, and move on to enjoy the story.

So what did I enjoy about this book, you ask? The secondary characters, definitely. I also liked that, although the romance was a little confusing, it also added such an interesting twist to the story. I knew what was coming well before it did, but I didn't mind. I was too charmed by David, too repulsed by Madeline's father, and too caught up in the mystery surrounding everything to care. When I stopped caring about Madeline, and just let everything else sweep me up, I enjoyed Landry Park.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Guest Post: Jennifer Ellision, author of Threats of Sky and Sea

Click the banner for more tour stops!

Happy Monday my friends! Are you ready for some gorgeous cover love? Not only is Jennifer Ellision's Threats of Sky and Sea an absolutely beautiful book, it's also one that has my attention. The synopsis drew me in, and I can't wait to dive in! Take a look.

Sixteen year-old Breena Perdit has spent her life as a barmaid, innocent to her father’s past and happily free from the Elemental gifts that would condemn her to a life in the Egrian King’s army. Until the day that three Elemental soldiers recognize her father as a traitor to the throne and Bree’s father is thrown in jail—along with the secrets from his last mission as the King’s assassin. Secrets that could help the King win a war. Secrets he refuses to share.

Desperate to escape before the King’s capricious whims prove her and her father’s downfall, Bree bargains with him: information for their lives. It’s a good trade. And she has faith she’ll get them both out of the King’s grasp with time.

But that was before the discovery that she’s the weapon the King’s been waiting for in his war.

Now, time is running out. To save her father’s life and understand her own, Bree must unravel the knot of her father’s past before the King takes his life– and uses her to bring a nation to its knees.
Sound like something that you'd like to read? You can add it to your reading list at the links below. 

Add it on:

Now, please enjoy a guest post from Jennifer Ellision! 


My favorite scene from Threats of Sky and Sea 

Many, many scenes from Threats of Sky and Sea hold a very dear place in my heart. There are some climactic scenes, ones with funny lines, even some romantic scenes. I love some of the scenes where the Elemental powers are at the forefront, ones where I explored the mythology in the world of Egria, and ones where I got to fool around with metaphors and language. And I really love quite a few of my characters.

So picking a favorite scene? Difficult. Very difficult.

But… I think I know which scene to choose.

(I also have to be vague, because holy spoilers, Batman.)

One of the characters in Threats of Sky and Sea is named Princess Aleta. And Aleta has got a whole lot of anger inside of her at the circumstances of her life. I think that readers will see that easily well before this scene. For the most part, Aleta is a very controlled person, who just happens to… slip every now and then.

My favorite scene is one featuring Aleta and the main character of Threats of Sky and Sea: Bree. It follows a major reveal in the story, and a deadline has just been thrust upon my characters. And Aleta slips. Probably more than she ever has before.

And I was just so very proud of her while writing that scene.

I think it’s the first time that I really understood Aleta’s inner strength and the sheer force of her will. She is not a force to be reckoned with, and yet she’s been subjugated and underestimated for the entirety of her life.

I've included a sneak peek of that scene below, and I hope that others will share it with me as their favorite.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

ARC Review: Eyes on You by Kate White

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Eyes on You
Author: Kate White
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: Hardcover; 320
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy stories centered around television stars and celebrities.

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes 
From New York Times bestselling author Kate White comes a riveting psychological suspense in which a media star must battle a malevolent enemy who may be disturbingly close to her.

After losing her on-air job two years ago, television host Robin Trainer has fought her way back and now she’s hotter than ever. With her new show climbing in the ratings and her first book a bestseller, she’s being dubbed a media double threat.

But suddenly, things begin to go wrong. Small incidents at first: a nasty note left in her purse; her photo shredded. But the obnoxious quickly becomes threatening when the foundation the makeup artist uses burns Robin’s face. It wasn’t an accident—someone had deliberately doctored with the product.

An adversary with a dark agenda wants to hurt Robin, and the clues point to someone she works with every day. While she frantically tries to put the pieces together and unmask this hidden foe, it becomes terrifyingly clear that the person responsible isn’t going to stop until Robin loses everything that matters to her . . . including her life.

Eyes on You is billed as a "riveting psychological suspense" in the synopsis. I can't honestly say I was convinced of that during this read. There are things about Kate White's newest story that are done well. The writing is solid and the blinding glamour of television celebrities is evident. It's just that I never really felt the suspense that I was promised. Let me explain.

First off, it's evident that White once wrote for the world of fashion. The opening page of Robin's story puts that front and center, as she describes a brand new pair of heels she's donned for a book launch party. Rather in-depth. See, Robin is caught up in the life of a celebrity. A television personality, and a successful author, her life revolves around being known. She's used to being in the spotlight, loves the validation that comes with the job, and she's not shy about it. It is this very fact that puts her in the cross-hairs of a mysterious enemy.

That being said, most of the book really is dedicated to Robin's life. Instead of the promised suspense, which is only mildly peppered in, the reader is treated to lavish parties, sumptuous dinners, and illicit affairs. I found myself skimming forward in an effort to finally get to the next piece of puzzle. I wanted less Robin, and more mystery. Even the actual events that took place to make her feel like she was being stalked drove me a bit mad. They weren't edgy, or exciting. Which made the ending of this book feel like it came out of left field, and not in a good way.

I'll admit that this book is well-written. The characters are fleshed out enough to love or hate, the lifestyle is described in all its glory, and Robin is an interesting enough protagonist. The problem is that this never felt like psychological suspense. I never felt worried for Robin. I never felt nervous about what might happen next. This felt like a story about a woman who has made it to the top, and is afraid to let it slip. Bill it as that? I'll take it. Bill it as a suspense novel? You haven't quite hit the mark. So, three stars to Eyes on You.

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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