27 December 2016

Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline 
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Book Format: Paperback
# of Pages: 278
Synopsis: The author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.

Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from "aging out" of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.

Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life - answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are

My Review:
Kristina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train focuses on an interesting way of putting children who have found themselves parent less into new homes. The children are loaded onto trains and are brought to a few different cities where they are lined up in front of a room full of people waiting to pick out children to take home. One of the main characters grew up bouncing from home to home after being picked from an orphan train. The main characters directly mirror each other in that both girls know what it is like to bounce from home to home without finding the right match, until later on in life. 

The novel intertwines two very different yet shockingly similar worlds. Readers follow two young girls during the most difficult times of their lives. The novel starts off with Molly who has found herself with a pair of foster parents who are not so sure how her being in their home is going to work out. Molly gets herself in trouble, and is in need of community service hours. Eventually Molly’s boyfriend gets involved and with the help of his mother she is introduced to 91 year old Vivian, with the task of cleaning out her attic. While sorting through the many boxes around Vivian dives into the story of her childhood, which happens to be similar to what Molly is going through currently. 

Both characters were abandoned at a very young age. Vivian at an old age, had already gone through much of her life as an orphan, and at this point in the novel she has developed enough to where she can take another under her wing and give knowledge from her past as an orphan and this is exactly what she does with Molly. Vivian uses stories from her past to pull Molly out of the funk of depression and getting into trouble at her home life. At this point in her life, Molly still has not found the right set of parents to be with and during their time together Vivian helps her to figure that out. This part of the novel also directly mirrors both of their lives, Vivian runs away from a house where, “Mrs. Grote lies in bed all day,” and room in which she awoke with, “snow dust on her face, and stained mattresses.” and eventually Molly does something entirely similar. The novel tells a fascinating story about two women who come together to help each other without even knowing they are doing so.

The novel is perfectly fitting for those looking to dive into the past yet come up for air every bunch of chapters with a point of view from Molly’s side of the story. I enjoyed following these two ladies through their difficulties of being orphans, I found myself feeling the emotions they felt and showed at all times. I also felt Kline did a wonderful job at mirroring these two characters to put together an amazing story.

04 November 2016

Review - Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: September 1, 2015
Book Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 310
Synopsis: My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My Review:
I borrowed Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon from work and this is my honest review.

The thought of being so sick that you cannot even go outside for fear that you’ll die of an allergic reaction to anything, is scary. Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon is about 18 year old Madeline who has been sick since she was a newborn. Anything could trigger an allergic reaction for her and because of this, she is only allowed in her air locked house, and nowhere else. Maddy is fine with her life; she's used to it, until she meets Oliver.

I have heard of these types of sickness’ before but I have never been able to read a book that centers around that sort of thing. But boy am I glad I picked this one up. I can honestly say I read this book in almost one sitting, less than 24 hours. There are so many things I just adore about this book. I love how it was set up, there were drawings, diagrams, IM’s, etc. There was so much to hold my interest along with the exciting story.

For a girl who had been locked up pretty much her entire life, and had not seen any of the real world or had the chance to have any outside of her house real world experiences, Maddy is extremely mature. Most of her thoughts were witty and made a lot of sense. I feel that if I was in her shoes I would not have been able to live life as happily as she was living hers. But then again, she grew up with this from infancy so I guess it's easier if it's all she's ever known.

Many people do not enjoy love at first sight books, and I can tell you this is not one. The way Madeline and Oliver meet is totally normal but not at the same time. He moves in next door, must notice that she's always watching for some sort of entertainment. After some persistence they start emailing and IMing and the rest is history. I was able to connect a lot with Maddy my first relationship was a long distance one so much of my time was spent texting and up all night talking because of the time distance. This may not be the same situation, but because nothing could contaminate her house, her relationship with Olly was long distance even though he was just next door.

The end was a shock, but I was severely satisfied. I had to keep reading from page 1 to the end. Everything kept getting increasingly more interesting and I could not stop. All the characters were very real to me, I was able to picture everything I read in my head and that's the kind of book I love to read. I could honestly see this book turning into a 5 star movie, from one person to another. I would recommend this to anyone just looking to check out of reality for almost 24 hours.  


31 October 2016

Review - The Girls by Emma Cline

The Girls by Emma Cline
Publisher: Random House
Publish Date: June 14, 2016
Book Format: ARC
# of Pages: 355
Synopsis: Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

My Review:  
 I received an ARC copy of The Girls by Emma Cline from work and this is my honest review.

The Girls tells the story of a teenage girl named Evie in 1969 who gets herself involved with a cult of girls all following one man. Evie has many problems at home, her parents have divorced and since then her mother has changed a lot. They start to butt heads which causes Evie to adventure on her own.

Before Cline’s book I had never read anything else based on this time period. I had never been drawn to it before, but I have always been interested in serial killers and cults. So with the mention of this novel being loosely based on the Manson cult, I knew it was going to be a book for me.

Going back and forth between past Elise at about 14 years old and to present 40 year old Elise was interesting to read. Both of these time periods gave readers a look into how the past had changed Elise as a person. As a young girl she followed a lot. She met Suzanne, and almost immediately Elise became immersed into their cult.

Cline is so descriptive with her writing, it was fun to picture the place where Russell and his girls were living throughout the book. I obviously didn’t grow up in the late 60’s early 70’s but I have seen enough pictures, and movies to get a sense of what farms would look like.

I know the whole point of the novel is that it is based around the girl apart of Manson’s cult who was not apart of the murders and did not get involved. But I found myself disappointed at the end of the novel. Most of the book Evie became one of the cult members, she was fully involved with them so by the end when she was all of the sudden talking about what was going on, or what happened from a far. I do understand why that happened but I guess I just wanted her to be completely with them until the last page.

I could not stop turning pages while reading. I had to know what was going on with Evie and the girls, I found myself increasingly intrigued by the scenes Evie had with the men. I don’t read those kinds of things often, but the description and Evie’s reaction had me thinking I was a fly on the wall and that is the kind of feeling I like to have while reading. I enjoy feeling like everything I’m reading is happening right next to me.


07 September 2016

Blog Tour: Tales from a Redheaded Sea-Witch by

Tales of a Redheaded Sea-Witch by J.E. Hunter
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: April 2014
Summary: Death, power, transformation....  When Nessa's dad dies, the last thing she's expecting isto lose everything else too. But when her hair suddenly turns electric red, and her estranged grandma turns up on her doorstep ready tohaul her off toan isolated island, that's exactly what happens. In one day, Nessa losses her mother and her friends, and learns that she's a redheaded sea-witch with magical powers. She's one of many Neptunians—magical beings blessed by the sea, including selkies, mermaids, pirates, and sea nymphs. Nessa doesn't want to live onan island, she doesn't want tobe a sea-witch, and she certainly doesn't want tobe hunted by humans who harvest Neptunians for their magical powers. But if Nessa wants to live, she'll have to accept her new life and everything that comes with it including a witty pirate named Caesar, who just might break her heart.  Challenges arise at home and at school. Nessa struggles with her lessons, her friendships, and her burgeoning romance. She has no idea who she is, where she belongs, orthat the danger lurking in the shadows is about to tear apart her world all over again... 
Tales of a Redheaded Sea-Witch is the first book of the Black Depths series. This stunning series of books follow Nessa, a sea-witch. The second and third books, Broken Tide and Dark Shores, are also available on Amazon, as well a Black Depths novella, Windbound, which features the siren, Amynta, from the Black Depths series.

Meet J.E.
 J.E. Hunter lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, and began writing at a young age asanexcuse to stay indoors during the cold winters. Several trips to the Pacific coast brought the inspiration for the Black Depths series. Tales of a Redheaded Sea-Witch, book 1, was published in 2014. Book 2, Broken Tide, was released in November 2015. Book 3 will be released inMarch 2016. J.E. Hunter has spent many years working in the field of environmental engineering and protection, a common theme in her works. When not reading, writing, orworking, J.E. Hunter is often planning future adventures or busy living them.

Author Links:


03 September 2016

Review: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee

Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee
Publisher: Random House Books For Young Readers
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Book Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 240
Synopsis: This groundbreaking new middle grade series follows DC Comics' most iconic female Super Heroes and Super-Villains . . . as high schoolers. At Super Hero High, the galaxy's most powerful teens nurture their powers and master the fundamentals of what it means to be a hero.

My Review:
I received Wonder Woman at Super Hero High from the publisher and this is my honest review.

When asked to review this cute little DC SuperHero Girls series I said yes immediately for a few different reasons. My boyfriend is a huge fan of Super Heroes and I thought it would be cute to read these and start learning about these things to keep up with him. I have seen this series at work before and it just looks so cute.

The first book in this series is about Wonder Woman learning of Super Hero High and deciding to apply and attend this interesting school for kids with strange talents and super powers. She shows up and immediately gets a reaction from the school. Some of the other super heroes love and want to be her friend. But there are a few that are already her sworn enemy.

It was interesting reading this book, I do not have a whole lot of Super Hero background knowledge, so the entire time I was reading I would stop to ask my boyfriend if so and so was a real SuperHero from comics, tv shows, movies, etc. Most of the Super Heroes mentioned in the books did happen to be real. I enjoyed the aspect that the characters in the book connected with how they really were in comics and what not. For example, Wonder Woman had a crush on Steve Trevor in the book, and after a little research it turns out Wonder Woman's lover in much of the old comics, etc was also known as Steve Trevor. Those little things that I connected here and there really excited me while reading.

The only aspect that bothered me while reading was the way the author portrayed Wonder Woman. I realize Wonder Woman comes from a different place than most of the other super heroes so it is normal for her to be a little more ignorant to some things than others. But there were multiple times throughout the book where Wonder Woman was oblivious to common sense things. I just did not enjoy how stupid her character seemed to be, and I do not mean that in any other way other than the fact that she actually seemed quite dumb, which I know was not true with everything she accomplished in the book and in other comics, movies, etc. So why the author chose to make her seem a little gone in some chapters is beyond me.

Other than that little blip for me, the rest of the book was fantastic. I loved meeting all of the different super heroes and seeing their relationships with Wonder Woman. I loved looking up those characters online and seeing if the relationship they had with her in the book matched up to ones they might have had in other media forms. I would definitely recommend this to young readers who are Superhero fans!

22 August 2016

Cover Reveal: A Fabrication of the Truth by Katie Kaleski

A Fabrication of the Truth
Katie Kaleski
Publication date: September 20th 2016
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
The last time Lexie Stein saw Dalton Reyes he lay in a pool of blood, hovering somewhere between life and death. Now, five years later, he’s the new guy in her high school.
What happened between then and now is a mystery Lexie is afraid to explore. Just one lie uncovered from her past can cause the house of cards she’s so carefully constructed to come crashing down around her. And Dalton is the key to that past.
She doesn’t need her grandmother’s warnings to convince her that Dalton means trouble. But the bond they shared as kids seems to have only gotten stronger, transforming into something wonderful and powerful.
When Dalton opens up about the intervening years and what they mean for his future, Lexie is determined not to let him get away a second time.

Author Bio:
Katie Kaleski is a young adult author that hails from the midwest. A Fabrication of the Truth is her debut novel, but she will have plenty more books coming very soon.
Her favorite food is cereal with milk, she holds cookies in high regard, and she loves all things cute and fuzzy.

19 August 2016

Review: Strike by Delilah S. Dawson

Strike by Delilah S. Dawson 
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 12, 2016
# of Pages: 480
Synopsis: The hit list was just the beginning.

Time to strike back.

After faking her own death to escape her term as an indentured assassin for Valor Savings Bank, Patsy is on the run with her boyfriend, Wyatt. All she wants to do is go home, but that’s never going to happen—not as long as Valor’s out to get her and the people she loves.

Left with no good choices, Patsy’s only option is to meet with a mysterious group that calls itself the Citizens for Freedom.

Led by the charismatic Leon Crane, the CFF seem like just what Patsy has been looking for. Leon promises that if she joins, she’ll finally get revenge on Valor for everything they’ve done to her—and for everything they’ve made her do.

But Patsy knows the CFF has a few secrets of their own. One thing is certain: they’ll do absolutely anything to complete their mission, no matter who’s standing in their way. Even if it’s Patsy herself.

Delilah S. Dawson brings anarchy and high-octane drama to the next explosive level in this sequel to the “practically movie-ready” (Kirkus Reviews) novel, Hit.

My Review:
 I borrowed Strike by Delilah S. Dawson from work and this is my honest review.

To give a little recap the first book in this duo follows the main character Patsy while she is forced to either be an assassin for Valor Savings Bank or be killed by them for her mother's outstanding debt. Near the end of the book things prove to be hard, Patsy runs away from her duties with her last victim's brother and she has no idea where things are going to go from there.

Strike starts off on shaky ground, there is a lot of recap given to us by Patsy’s thoughts to herself. Readers do not really know where the book is headed for awhile. Patsy and Wyatt our main characters from book one do not even know where they are going to end up quite yet. But when they do end up somewhere with a group of people they met along the way each chapter starts to get more and more interesting.

I enjoyed the second book for so many reasons, Dawson did a great job giving readers recap from the first book. It was pretty creative most of the time using Patys thoughts. It was not just paragraphs or chapters of recap it was spread out evenly each time a memory was triggered for Patsy. I also liked the fact that many relationships, as well as characters developed during the pages of these books. We got to see the continuation of Wyatt and Patsy’s relationship which we did not get to see much of in book one. I also liked following along while Patsy’s character developed, it was very slow but she did end up opening up to the people I wanted her to open up to.

The end was full of surprises for me. Obviously I cannot disclose those surprises without spoilers. But I must say Dawson did a good job of giving us a good balance of good and bad surprises. I felt a lot of different emotions throughout the course of this book, which is great. I love when books make me feel things, and I also love when books are so beautifully written I can almost watch it play out in my head while reading! Definitely check out these books if you love dangerous assassin adventure books!


18 August 2016

Cover Reveal: Fear Me, Fear Me Not by Elodie Nowodazkij

Fear Me, Fear Me Not
Elodie Nowodazkij
Publication date: September 27th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, New Adult, Supernatural
SCREAM meets FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS in this new young adult romantic suspense novel by Elodie Nowodazkij.
Fear is power. They fear me. They don’t fear me enough. Every year a girl disappears in Gavert County, Texas. Their bodies are found days, sometimes months, later with an angel wing carved on their face. They call me “the Angel Killer” and I’m on the hunt again. But this time, it’s personal.
Seventeen-year-old cheerleader Erin Hortz has been warned about the Angel Killer all her life. She never walks alone in the dark. She doesn’t talk to strangers. She doesn’t accept drinks at parties. All she wants is to finish her senior year with a win at the Miss Junior Queen of Hearts pageant, capture the perfect light over the lake with her new camera, and finally catch the attention of her best friend Nadia’s brother—former football star Dimitri Kuklev. Since his injury, they’ve been spending a lot of time together. And getting to know the real Dimitri—not the one she put on a pedestal in her diary is better than she could ever have imagined. And she’s falling hard.
Nineteen-year-old Dimitri’s injury brought him from football superstar with universities from all around the country knocking at his door to not knowing what he wants to do with his life. Taking classes at the local community college is supposed to get him back on track, but all he wants is to be on the field again. The only person who seems to understand him is the one he swore to keep in the friend zone: Erin. His sister Nadia’s best friend and the reason why he can’t keep a girlfriend. Between their early morning jogs, their time spent at the lake laughing, and their late night conversations, he’s having a hard time remembering why it’s such a bad idea.
But when Nadia doesn’t come home after a party, Dimitri and Erin know they must find her before it’s too late—even if that means risking their own lives and everything Erin’s ever known.
Because the main suspect is Erin’s father.
teaser (2)

Author Bio:
Elodie Nowodazkij was raised in a tiny village in France, where she could always be found a book in hand. At nineteen, she moved to the US, where she learned she'd never lose her French accent. Now she lives in Maryland with her husband, their dog and their cat.
She's also a serial smiley user.


17 August 2016

Blog Tour: The Departed by Kristy Cooper

The Departed by Kristy Cooper
Genre: YA Dystopian
Release Date: July 6th 2016
Summary from Goodreads:  What if someone tried to fake the rapture? When hundreds of thousands of people disappear in the middle of the night, including sixteen-year-old Gwen's best friend Lana, no one knows why. Some believe they were taken in the rapture, while others are convinced that it can't be true. Doomsday prophecies abound that involve horrifying tales of plague, famine, earthquakes, and more. At first, Gwen doesn't know what to think. While she is busy mourning Lana, many people around her are getting taken in by the cultish True Believers Temple, including Gwen's dad and her friend Mindy. Itis clear that more and more people are going tobe pressured to join this church, asit starts taking over the media and the government, gaining zealous followers all over the world. Then Gwen starts receiving emails from Lana. She claims to have been forced into hiding with
thousands of others inan underground compound. Gwen is convinced the emails are real and the only other person who also believes her is Isaiah, her moody crush. Together they resolve to find out where everyone is hiding and help set Lana free.

Book Links: 

Meet Kristy,
Kristy Cooper found herself often contemplating unusual what-if scenarios and knew it was time to start writing them down. She worked as a librarian for years and is now busy raising small children and writing YA novels. Stay up to date with her books atkristycooper.com.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

Author Interview
1) What inspires you to write?

I've always had many random story ideas that I felt I needed to do something with. I had this idea, that someday, I would finally get around to sitting down and writing the stories that were growing in my head, but I just kept postponing that day. I think this is such a common problem for a lot of people who would like to write. I finally had a little time on my hands, so I began working on The Departed and as I began writing it, I realized it had so many more details and layers that it should be a series. I have a few other YA science fiction series ideas, that I hope I get a chance to work on after this one is done.

2) What is the hardest thing about being a writer?

I think the hardest thing about being a writer is wishing you could write faster. I keep reading about writers who regularly write 10,000 words a day and I am so jealous! Although I am slowly getting a little faster, I usually end up averaging about 500-2000 words a day.

Related to that issue, is the also wishing I could read faster problem. The more I write, the less time I have to read and vice versa!

3) What do you do when you get writers block?

Most of my experience with writers block has been about particular details in my stories. I haven't really experienced it yet in terms of larger story arc issues. I tend to deal with these blocks by just typing some gibberish and highlighting it in red, so there is no way I will not forget to go back and edit it later. If I am feeling stuck on a small part, I think it's better to just keep writing and go back to whatever the problem is at a later time, otherwise it will completely interrupt your flow.

Sometimes I just can't come up with character names when I am introducing them. I am working on The Sainted (Book 2 of The Departed Series) right now and, I currently have an Officer Butt and a Mrs. Whatever (really mature I know). They will get "real" names later when I go back and edit.

4) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Make yourself write everyday by setting a mini-habit. I made my goal to only write 50 words a day which I know isn't very much. But it's also a very attainable goal even if you have an otherwise busy and full day. When your WIP is in front of you, you will almost always write much more than just 50 words.

5) Do you have a street team or an email readers can subscribe to receive updates on upcoming releases, etc?
I do! You can sign-up to get an early review copy of my next book The Sainted at: kristycooper.com/blogger.


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10 August 2016

Review: The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer

The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer
Publisher: Health Communications
Release Date: August 1, 1997
Book Format: Paperback
# of Pages: 331
Synopsis: "The Lost Boy" is the harrowing but ultimately uplifting true story of a boy's journey through the foster-care system in search of a family to love. This is Dave Pelzer's long-awaited sequel to "A Child Called 'It'." "The Lost Boy" is Pelzer's story -- a moving sequel and inspirational read for all.

My Review:
I bought this book with my own funds and this is my honest review.

The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer is the sequel to A Child Called It. The first book was the story of a little boy who was abused verbally and physically by his mother. In the second book, readers follow little David on his journey of escaping his mother. After making it to school, and confessing to his teachers he is taken out of his mother's custody and placed into several foster homes throughout the book.

This book felt like a sigh of relief compared to the first book. I found myself feeling extremely happy that David finally got the nerve to tell someone and get himself out. I was excited for him when he entered the Catanze home I felt as though it was going to be a new start for him. While reading I felt every emotion David had while in each house right along with him. I became angry with his treatment by some of the foster kids, and there were times I was angry at Mr. Catanze’s treatment too. I felt like I understood on some level as to why he was so hard on David when he made mistakes but at the same time I thought he was a very misunderstood little boy and needed more than the adults in his life were giving him.

Even though I felt the adults could have given him some more support David seemed to take a little something from each home he was at, and that gave him the strength to push through even though he still had his crazy mother on his tail even after he left her house, and even though he got himself into trouble because he did not really have anyone who completely understood, in the end, he grew up and seemed to turn out to be a fine boy.

I enjoyed reading the second installment in Dave Pelzers story, and I look forward to reading the third book, A Man Named Dave. I am really interested in finding out how the rest of his life shaped out to be.


26 July 2016

Release Day Launch: Bearliest Catch by Bianca D'Arc

Bearliest Catch RDL
Today we have the great new paranormal romance, Bearliest Catch by Bianca D’Arc. Be sure to check it out and grab your copy, and enter her giveaway  

BearliestCatchFinal-72-200x300About Bearliest Catch:   Drew spends his days fishing in the Pacific, far from Grizzly Cove, seeking the peace of the ocean. Jetty lives in the ocean, part of a hunting party of mer folk, in near-constant danger now from the evil creature that roams the deep. When they meet, sparks fly and the ocean comes alive with danger. Can they get her people to safety?

Exclusive Excerpt: “I’d better go and tell the others what you’ve said.” She walked toward the stern of the boat slowly. “Is it safe to swim after a meal like that? I mean, most humans have to wait a bit before they go swimming after eating. How does that work for you?” He looked adorably confused and genuinely curious, so she humored his question. “Once I shift, the mer characteristics win out, so it won’t be a problem.” She sent him a smile as she walked farther away. It was hard to leave him, which surprised her, but she couldn’t stay. She had responsibilities to her people, much as she would have loved to spend the rest of the day with the sexy bear shifter. He followed her, and they both stood at the stern of the boat, his hooks picking up nothing during their meal and continuing to just drift with no action. “If you go a little northwest, you’ll find some big sturgeon and halibut. The fishing is much better in that direction right now,” she offered, hoping to help in some small way. “I might as well give you a solid tip on where to find dinner since you fed me part of your lunch.” She turned to him, laughing lightly. “The tip is appreciated, but you don’t owe me anything, sweetheart.” The breath caught in her throat at his use of the endearment. He also stepped right up to her, not a foot between their bodies as he looked down into her eyes. She almost forgot to breathe. “But…” She didn’t know what she was objecting to as his head drifted lower. Was he going to kiss her? “Ssh,” he soothed her, drawing her under his spell. “If you really want to repay me for the sandwich, all I ask of you is a single kiss.” What? Alarm bells sounded in her mind, but they were drowned out by the nearness of him. She could feel his warmth only inches away from her, and she wanted to snuggle up against him. She’d been so cold for so long… Which was an odd thought for a mer to have. Mer didn’t feel cold. The oceans were their home. So what had gotten into her now? And why was she suddenly so eager to snuggle up to a land dweller? Oh, he was a shifter—they had that in common—but he still lived on land, and she in the sea. Though she could survive very well on dry land too. In fact, she’d spent most of her youth on land, with her family, doing the normal things that humans and shifters did. She’d gone to school, had friends, drove a car, had a job, and even moved in with her boyfriend. But the situation with Dirk was what had driven her into the sea. She refused to go down that path again. Dirk had been human, a little voice inside reminded her. Andrew was a shifter. Maybe things would be different with a shifter. Did she dare try to find out? As his lips touched hers, all thoughts fled in the face of his passion. What started as a simple kiss turned into something much more profound within a single heartbeat. He took her into his embrace, and she did get a chance to snuggle up to his warmth, basking in the feel of his strong arms around her. He kissed her lightly, at first, then gradually deepened the kiss when she made no move to push him away. His tongue danced with hers, showing her new patterns of pleasure even as her knees threatened to give way. He was holding her up, his hands around her waist, supporting her, not imprisoning. And that was the key. He held her firmly, but lightly. She could break free any time she wanted…which was why she stayed.      

I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but in my latest book, Bearliest Catch, a wounded-warrior bear shifter gets mixed up with a mermaid. I didn’t intentionally set out to write a mermaid character when I started this series, but I guess the coastal setting and the situation in the fictional world, where there is a demon-like entity in the water, combined to make it reasonable to have at least one of my heroines be a mermaid.
She’s not your typical little mermaid though. I decided if I was going to write mer creatures, I was going to develop their society and roles in it more fully than I’ve seen done before. So my mer females are part of a hunting party. Essentially, they’re protectors of their larger community, and when they run afoul of the danger in the water, they begin to interact with the land-dwelling bear shifters who have just moved into town. Inevitably, sparks ignite between the two as they work together to fight the evil that has beset both the town and the surrounding ocean.
Sometimes, as a writer, stories take you in unexpected directions. I think it’s always exciting when your imagination is posed the big “what if” question and comes up with something that surprises you. And I think, for the most part, readers enjoy that kind of spontaneous leap into new directions too.
While a lot of people who don’t read the genre seem to complain that romance is too formulaic, I don’t agree. Romance goes where you want to take it. Sure, there are some tropes and more or less standard story lines, but we’re not all limited by those things. Many of us routinely bounce into new and exciting places with our stories.
In the Grizzly Cove series, I’ve mixed up the backgrounds of all the characters. The series starts off with three novellas in which the heroines are all human women who had no idea there were shifters in the world until they moved to Grizzly Cove. In the fourth book, which is novel-length, the heroine is a witch. (A good witch.) And then I started introducing mermaids. Where it goes from here, I’m not sure, but you can bet I’ll keep introducing unexpected elements and characters. That way, it keeps the work fresh for both me and, hopefully, for the reader.
The heroes in this series are all bear shifters with different challenges. Even though they’re all bear shifters, not all are grizzlies. I’ve been having fun with different types of bears from different parts of the world to make each hero a little unique. The men also have a military background. They were all part of the same Special Forces unit and are a true band of brothers. Retired from the military now, they were seeking a quiet place to live and maybe find mates, but they didn’t bargain on the evil that’s been hunting them from just off shore.
This paranormal romance series is a mix of adventure, excitement and sexy attraction between the heroes and their ladies. I like to make my books about equal parts romance and adventure and that holds true for this series. As we go along, the stakes get higher and the overall situation in the cove gets more complicated. I hope you enjoy the unexpected twists and turns as they happen when you’re reading, as much as I do when I’m writing them!

About Bianca D’Arc: Bianca D’Arc is the USA Today bestselling author of over 50 romance novels. She has twice won EPPIE Awards for her work, along with the Australian Romance Readers Favorite Erotic Romance eBook of 2008 for her first werewolf romance, Lords of the Were. She is a native New Yorker who worked as an executive on Wall Street during the summer of 2001. She changed careers after the tragic attacks of 9/11 and started seriously pursuing publication in 2005. She has a Bachelors degree in Biochemistry, a Masters in Library Science, and a Juris Doctor, but she doesn’t take herself too seriously. She loves her garden and plays the piano, ukulele and guitar.  

Connect with Bianca! Website: www.biancadarc.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BiancaDArcAuthor/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/biancadarc  

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14 July 2016

Blog Tour by Life After Juliet by Shannon Alexander

Life After Juliet by Shannon Lee Alexander
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Genre: Contemporary YA
Synopsis: Becca Hanson was never able to make sense of the real world. When her best friend Charlotte died, she gave up on it altogether. Fortunately, Becca can count on her books to escape—to other times, other places, other people...                  

Until she meets Max Herrera. He’s experienced loss, too, and his gorgeous, dark eyes see Becca the way no one else in school can.

As it turns out, kissing is a lot better in real life than on a page. But love and life are a lot more complicated in the real world...and happy endings aren't always guaranteed.

The companion novel to Love and Other Unknown Variables is an exploration of loss and regret, of kissing and love, and most importantly, a celebration of hope and discovering a life worth living again.

Meet Shannon,
Shannon Lee Alexander is a wife and mother (of two kids and one yellow terrier named Harriet Potter). She is passionate about coffee, books, and cancer research. She spent most of her time in high school hiding out in the theater with the drammies and techies. Math still makes her break out in a sweat. She currently lives in Indianapolis with her family.

Author Links:
Author Twitter
Author Facebook
Author Goodreads

Author Interview:

1) What inspires you to write?

I write character-driven stories, so everything begins with a character for me. I joke around that I’ve always had voices in my head because for as long as I can remember, I’ve been watching stories like movies in my head. Daydreaming is my favorite thing to do!

Eventually, one voice will get louder than the others. If I listen, a story will start to unfold.

2) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Let yourself enjoy writing. I think aspiring writers (myself included) get too focused on the end result—the completed novel, the literary agent, the publishing deal, etc. But all of that is just chatter, and it takes away from what you need to be doing, which is enjoying developing your craft.

Be silly. Make mistakes. Throw away your outlines. Take wrong turns. Write scenes you have no intention of keeping. Create characters with deep, complex back stories—and then kill them off so you can create new characters. Play with your craft. Read. Copy your favorite authors. Write bad fanfiction. Write great fanfiction. Explore writing to its fullest.

Actually, this is good advice for me, too, because even though I have two novels published, I’m still aspiring to be the best writer I can be. (☺ Thankfully, I already excel at being the cheesiest writer I can be. ☺)

3) What do you do when you are faced with writers block?

Wallow in paralyzing self-doubt and pity. Usually large amounts of sugar consumption is required.

Then, when I’ve wallowed enough (and made myself sick from eating one too many Swedish Fish), I’ll refocus. I recently went to hear Rick Yancey, author of The Fifth Wave, speak, and he had some great advice that helped me. And since writers are all thieves, I’ll steal it and pass it on to you.

Rick Yancey says that when you find yourself blocked, it means that your mind is trying to do two things at once. It’s trying to be creative, and it’s being judgey. Now, here’s where you guys suffer from me retelling this, because I’m pretty sure Rick Yancey had a better way of saying it. I’m pretty sure “judgey” wasn’t a word that came out of his highly educated mouth. But you get what I’m saying, right?

When you’re stuck, it’s probably because in the middle of trying to create something from nothing, your brain has switched gears on you and is analyzing everything you’ve just written. And of course your judgey brain is being a total jerk and telling you that your beautiful creation is crap, so the creative part of your brain freezes and then you find yourself eating two bags of Swedish Fish, which, if you’re wondering is seventeen portions more than any human should ever eat in one sitting.

So, do like Rick Yancey says, and turn off the jerk side of your brain so you can keep creating.

Or just call me, and I’ll send you some Swedish Fish.

4) Do you have an email subscription or a street team for me and my followers to follow to keep up to date on your books?

I do! Right now, the street team is called The Backstage Crew because we’re working hard to make sure Becca and the LIFE AFTER JULIET gang get their chance to shine on stage. If you’re interested in joining the crew, fill out this form.

If you ever want to email me or follow me on any social media platform (Instagram is my new favorite playground!), then you can find links to all of those on my webpage.

And if you want to receive my newsletters (don’t worry, I’m terrible at news so there’s only maybe four that go out a year, but they are always worth the wait), then you can sign up here!

Thanks so much for hosting me! Happy reading!

23 June 2016

Blog Tour: If You're Gone by Brittany Goodwin

If You're Gone by Brittany Goodwin
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: June 20th 2016 Edge of 22 Publishing
Summary: If You’re Gone traces a trying summer for rising high school senior Lillian White as she struggles to cope with the sudden disappearance of her boyfriend, Brad Lee - reported missing the morning after his graduation ceremony. When law enforcement dismisses the case and classifies Brad as voluntarily missing, Lillian becomes desperate to prove that he couldn’t have just walked away. Not from his friends. Not from his family. Not from her.Launching her own investigation into the darker side of her small North Carolina town, Lillian begins to uncover secrets from Brad’s past that force her to question everything she thought she knew about him and their relationship. "Soul-stirring... Truly one of the most innovative voices to come along in a while. Goodwin has weaved an engaging web of deceit and intrigue that embodies not only her storytelling prowess
but highlights her visionary filmmaking abilities in novel form." (Justin Price, creator of 'Future' SVOD channel) If You're Gone will be available June 20th, 2016 from Edge of 22 Publishing.

Book Links:

Meet The Author:
About the Author Brittany Goodwin is an author, screenwriter and director, best known for the internationally distributed faith-based feature films, Secrets in the Snow and Secrets in the Fall, which have both been awarded the highest honor of five Doves from the Dove Foundation. Brittany lives outside Nashville, TN with her husband and every growing number of rescue pets. She enjoys traveling with her husband and dogs, DIY projects, quoting John Hughes films, playing (and winning!) movie trivia games, and binge-watching Investigation Discovery Channel. A self-proclaimed armchair detective, Brittany is an active member of many Missing Persons blogs and Facebook pages, which inspired the topic of her debut YA novel, If You're Gone.

Author Interview:
1) what inspires you to write?

I love stories that make me feel something, whether it is books or movies, and I’m always coming up with new ideas for characters and situations I think people will relate to or take something away from. I’m not sure if that really answers the question… but I guess I am inspired by human emotion!

2) what is the hardest thing about being a writer?

For myself, and probably many other writers, I have to say rejection. It can be so discouraging and stifling. You feel like you have created a beautiful product only to send it off to literary agents and publishers who won’t give it the time of day, or who give you generic reasons why they aren’t interested in it, and it can be so frustrating! When submitting If You’re Gone I received about a dozen full and partial requests out of nearly EIGHTY agents and publishers I sent it to. (I’m almost embarrassed to admit that number, but I don’t think I am the only writer out there who has nearly hit- or exceeded- triple digits on their list of submissions!) Every day as those rejections kept rolling in I had to force myself to keep editing and keep working on new projects, despite the lack of interest. It was tough but my persistence paid off in the end!

3) what do you do when you get writers block?

My biggest struggle has been what I call “writers paranoia”. I always have a story running through my head, but sometimes I am scared to put it down on paper because I worry it won’t come out as good as what’s in my mind. It sounds crazy, but it has affected me so many times. I have finally gotten to the point where I just force myself to start writing, almost like stream of consciousness, and then I’ll walk away from it and re-read it later. At least if it’s terrible I know what went wrong and I can try again.

4) what advice would you give to aspiring writers

When I had an inbox full of form rejections I had to keep reminding myself “it only takes one”. After a LOT of patience and perseverance, I was lucky enough to get contract offers from a few different indie publishers! I have found that a lot of writers put their novel on a shelf when they hit their target rejection number (or just can’t stand another “No”) and move on to something different. My advise to aspiring writers is- don’t let anyone else’s opinion about your work change how you feel about your work. If you took the time to write something because you felt it was important enough to be written about- self publish it, blog it, just put it out there! A lot of writers might disagree with me, but I encourage all writers to remain passionate about their writing regardless of what Agent X has to say about it. 

5) do you have a street team or an email readers can subscribe to receive updates on upcoming releases, etc.

Yes! I don’t post on Twitter a lot but anytime something exciting is happening you better believe I will blow up your news feed! ☺ My Twitter handle is @thewritebritt. Also, if you go to edgeof22publishing.com you will be prompted to enter your email address to join the mailing list, and you can receive promotional offers as well as announcements for upcoming work from myself and other amazing indie authors!

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17 June 2016

Blog Tour: Unplugged by Donna Freitas

Unplugged (The Wired #1)
by Donna Freitas
Publisher: Harper Children's
Release Date: June 21st 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia

The first book in a provocative new series from acclaimed author Donna Freitas—Feed for a new generation.

Humanity is split into the App World and the Real World—an extravagant virtual world for the wealthy and a dying physical world for the poor. Years ago, Skylar Cruz’s family sent her to the App World for a chance at a better life.

Now Skye is a nobody, a virtual sixteen-year-old girl without any glamorous effects or expensive downloads to make her stand out in the App World. Yet none of that matters to Skye. All she wants is a chance to unplug and see her mother and sister again.

But when the borders between worlds suddenly close, Skye loses that chance. Desperate to reach her family, Skye risks everything to get back to the physical world. Once she arrives, however, she discovers a much larger, darker reality than the one she remembers.

In the tradition of M. T. Anderson’s Feed and Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies, Unplugged kicks off a thrilling and timely sci-fi series for teens from an award-winning writer

1) What made you want to be a writer?

I’ve always been a big reader—it’s one of my favorite things to do in the entire world. But I never thought I would become a writer. The reason why I did is because one day, this character—a girl named Antonia Lucia Labella—popped into my head and I could hear her voice, clear as day. She rattled around in my brain for quite a while before I sat down to write her story. And even when I finally did, I felt crazy for trying to write a novel! Antonia became the girl at the center of my debut novel The Possibilities of Sainthood.

2) How do you motivate yourself to write?

Coffee! A lot of coffee. And cookies and other sweets to go with it.

What really motivates me, though, is that I love having this space to play around and figure out someone’s story and life. For me, writing is often like one big do over—I get to go back to these moments in my life and relive them, re-imagine them, fix them, take a situation that turned out in a way I didn’t want it to, and make it turn out the way I wished it had. Also: my protagonists get to date all the boys I never got to date in real life, or the boy of my/their dreams. ☺ And that is very fun!

Plus, writing novels is a safe place to imagine dark things in the future, like with Unplugged, fears and struggles and life’s hardest moments. Getting to work through all of this stuff is really motivating to me. Writing is like my therapist. ☺

3) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t be afraid of the blank page: think of it as a playground where you get to do and live whatever you want. Where all your dreams can come true or you can live out all of your fears but safely. And you can always, always revise later.

4) Do you have an email subscription list, Facebook page, street team, etc for my followers and I to receive more information about your books now and in the future?

I do! You can sign up via my website: www.donnafreitas.com. And you can always email me directly: donnamariefreitas@gmail.com.

Thanks for having me!

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Follow the Unplugged by Donna Freitas Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Donna Freitas is an author of fiction, nonfiction, and articles that appear in newspapers, magazines, and on blogs. Born in Rhode Island, Donna now splits her time between New York City and Barcelona.

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