Sunday, April 20, 2014

#FeaturedFiverr Spring Break Special!

It's Spring Break! That means that I am off of school for the entire week, and I am *NOT* working on those parent-teacher conference reports until we get back. How does this benefit you? 

Well, I am looking to keep extra busy this week. So, any order placed between now and 11:59 PM on Sunday, April 20th will get one bonus gig extra FOR FREE.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review of 'Lean on Me' by Candy Crum

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leanonmeDISCLAIMER: Though this is a YA novel, it still contains violence, language, and other situations some may not be comfortable with.

Lean on Me by Candy Crum

When sixteen year old Briana Grace discovers that she's pregnant after only having sex one time with her emotionally and physically abusive boyfriend, Mike Rhodes, her life begins to twist and turn upside down. She discovers who truly loves her and who she can really trust.

Her boyfriend turns on her and nearly kills her when she won't agree to an abortion. Bri has to fight for her life and that of her little girl. She struggles to learn how to turn her life around and rise above all the bad after the world turns against her when more and more people learn of her pregnancy.

No matter what, there's one friend that she can count on through thick and thin. He has been her best friend since childhood and they've never seen anything more from their friendship... Until now. She must learn to trust her heart again so she can see the bright future with the one who’s been there all along.

**My thoughts**

Bri's story is a combination of many stories that we have heard before, including all of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Girl gets pregnant by an abusive boyfriend. No one believes her about what happened. Parents disown her when they find out. Amazing male best friend takes care of her. Girl is determined to do whatever it takes to protect herself and her unborn child and hides lots of truths to make that happen. I felt like all aspects were amplified. Those who were going to be mean were just downright nasty. Those who wanted to help were bubbly and/or went above and beyond the call of duty. I didn't see a lot of average reactions to Bri's situation. I was reminded of several situations that I have witnessed in person over the years. In fact, I felt like I was reading some kind of memoir, whether it was the author's own story, or an account of someone (a couple of people?) that she knew on a personal level.

The story almost reminded me of an After School Special, in that it had a lot of messages for teenage girls. Yes, you can get pregnant having sex just one time. Yes, you need to get away from abusive boyfriends. Yes, prejudice still exists and people want to believe the Golden Boy is perfect. Yes, people fear that pregnant girls are a bad influence on others. Yes, some parents are complete assholes. Yes, there are adults whom you can trust and you should seek them out. Happy endings are not a guarantee. Bri also shared a lot of her learned knowledge about pregnancy through her thoughts and actions. One particular point that stuck out in my mind was the importance of colostrum after birth. Dramatic scenes also made it play out like a movie or a soap opera miniseries.

Bri is a very determined young woman, with a mix of naivety and maturity all rolled into one, almost contradictory in a way. She is afraid of getting help when she needs it, yet is able to create a masterful plan of revenge to protect herself and her baby. These situations are definitely quite complicated.

Matt, her best friend, is a godsend. He has always taken care of her and has his own past secrets that shape his actions. He also seems to have a lot of money for a young man, and I'm not sure from where that all came.

The omniscient narration mostly focused on Bri's point-of-view, but also sometimes jumped into the heads of other characters in the middle of a section or chapter. On occasion it would throw me off, but I would quickly get back on track.

I felt like something was wanting in this book, but at the same time I was compelled to finish it in one evening. Bri is on one heck of a roller coaster ride. A few plot twists keep you on your toes. I didn't feel like I strongly connected to the characters, yet was choked up a couple of times. I definitely think that teens could learn something from it.

 

candyMeet the Author:

Candy Crum lives in Indiana and is the Author of “The Eternal Series” and other short stories. She published her first novel, The Eternal Gift, in May of 2011 and has been publishing ever since. Candy is an avid lover of the paranormal genre, stemming from years of reading the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice when she was a teenager. Later, she developed a deep love of the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead and the House of Night Series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, furthering her love of the genre and pushing her to really push to finish and publish her novel.

Since then, Candy has released three other books in The Eternal Series and will release another later in 2014. Now, Candy is trying her hand at more contemporary pieces of work, like that of Lean on Me and other books she will release in 2014.

Some of Candy’s interests include the usual reading and writing, music (of most types), movies (action and comedy or any combination of the two), cartoons (she loves to say that her children watch cartoons because she does), and drawing. She loves talking with her fans and loves reading the reviews that her fans are kind enough to leave for her. Always feel free to find Candy on Facebook and send her a message!

Follow Candy:

FaceBook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon


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Cover Reveal! 'Fruit of Misfortune (The Creatura Series #2)' by Nely Cab




COMING MAY 1ST

T H E   C R E A T U R A   S E R I E S
B O O K   2



TITLE: Fruit of Misfortune
RELEASE: May 1, 2014
AUTHOR: Nely Cab
GENRE: Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal 

Isis and her boyfriend, David, are on the brink of a horrible transformation and they are eager to stop it. Together, they set out on a quest to Greece to find Isis’ biological father—the only person that may be able to help them. Their journey comes to an abrupt stop before it even begins when Isis falls ill, and Eros, David’s best friend, arrives in Athens, unannounced and curious…with a plan of his own.

The hunt for her father leads Isis on the turbulent path of deceit, death, and demons as she anticipates the dawning of the beast that stirs inside her.


FRUIT OF MISFORTUNE IS THE SEQUEL TO

Creatura is available in audio, print, and ebook formats on 
AudibleAmazonBarnes and Noble, and iTunes



Check out Prelude, a Creatura prequel novella, on Amazon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Nely Cab has lived and resided in a small, quiet South Texas town most of her life. She worked in banking for several years, before she relocated to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico in 2001, where she dedicated time to the study of culinary arts and the art of oil painting. After her return to the U.S., Nely resumed her employment in banking and later transitioned to the field of Social Work.

Today, Nely Cab writes from the comfort of her home, where she lives with her husband and son. Her life goal is to check-off Bucket List Item No. 95,623,351: To Conquer the World. While she aspires world domination, Nely can be found lost in other fantasy worlds in front of her computer, sipping coffee.

CONNECT WITH NELY CAB




Happy Release Day! 'Don't Look Back' by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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We are extremely excited that Jennifer L. Armentrout's DON'T LOOK BACK releases today!! DON’T LOOK BACK is a young adult suspense being published by Disney Hyperion!

don't look back ABOUT DON’T LOOK BACK:

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all—popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her—even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory—someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

EXCERPT:
I didn’t recognize the name on the street sign. Nothing about the rural road looked familiar or friendly. Tall, imposing trees and overgrown weeds choked the front of the dilapidated home. Windows were boarded up. There was a gaping hole where the front door had been. I shivered, wanting to be far away from here…wherever here was.

Walking felt harder than it should be, and I stumbled off the chilly asphalt, wincing as sharp gravel dug into my feet.

My bare feet?

I stopped and looked down. Chipped pink nail polish peeked through the dirt…and blood.

Mud caked the legs of my pants, leaving the hems stiff. It made sense, seeing as how I wasn’t wearing any shoes, but the blood…I didn’t understand why there was blood staining the knees of my jeans.

My vision clouded and dulled, as if a gray film had been dropped over my eyes. As I stared at the weathered asphalt under my feet, large and smooth rocks replaced the tiny stones. Something dark and oily seeped over the rocks, slipping through the cracks.

Sucking in a sharp gasp, I blinked and the image was gone.

Hands trembling, I raised them. They were also covered with dirt and scratches. My nails were broken, bloodied. A silver ring wrapped, encased in soil, around my thumb. Air froze in my chest as my gaze crawled over my arms. The sleeves of my sweater were torn, revealing pale flesh covered in bruises and gashes. My legs started to shake as I swayed forward. I tried to remember how this had happened, but my head was empty—a black void where nothing existed.

A car drove by, coasting to a stop a few feet in front of me. Somewhere in the trenches of my subconscious, I recognized the flashing red and blue lights as a source of safety. Elegantly scrawled along the black-and-gray side of the cruiser were the words ADAMS COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT.

Adams County? A flash of familiarity came and went.

The driver’s door opened, and a deputy stepped out. He said something into the radio on his shoulder before he looked at me.

“Miss?” He started around the cruiser, taking tentative steps. He looked young for a deputy. Barely out of high school and able to carry a gun seemed wrong somehow. Was I in high school? I didn’t know. “We’ve received some calls into dispatch concerning you,” he said gently. “Are you okay?”

I tried to respond, but only a hoarse squeak came out. Clearing my throat, I winced as the motion scratched and pulled. “I…I don’t know.”

“Okay.” The deputy held up his hands as he approached me, as if I were a skittish deer about to bolt. “My name is Deputy Rhode. I’m here to help you. Do you know what you’re doing out here?”

“No.” Knots formed in my belly. I didn’t even know where here was.

His smile strained. “What’s your name?”

My name? Everyone knew their name, but as I stared at the deputy, I couldn’t answer his question. The knots started twisting more. “I don’t…I don’t know what my name is.”

He blinked, and the smile was completely gone. “You don’t remember anything?”

I tried again, concentrating on the empty space between my ears. That was how it felt. And I knew that wasn’t good. My eyes started to tear up.

“Miss, it’s okay. We’ll get you taken care of.” He reached out, lightly taking hold of my arm. “We’ll get this sorted.”

Deputy Rhode led me around the back of his cruiser. I didn’t want to sit behind the Plexiglas, because I knew that wasn’t good. Only bad people sat behind the glass in police cruisers. I wanted to object, but before I could say anything, he settled me into the seat and wrapped a coarse blanket around my shoulders.

Before he locked me in the bad part of the car, he knelt and smiled reassuringly. “Everything’s going to be okay.”

But I knew he was lying, trying to make me feel better. It didn’t work. How could everything be okay when I didn’t know my own name?
  BUY LINKS: 


“This engrossing thriller packs a heady atmospheric punch with plenty of theatrical scares,” Kirkus Reviews

“Armentrout has written another winner. From the first page to the last, she builds both terror and confusion to the point where readers will be hooked and on the edge of their seat. This standalone contains all of Armentrout’s usual trademarks– a strong and determined heroine, witty comments and hot guys–but she adds in an extra layer by ratcheting up the suspense to the highest degree and follows it up with an ending no one will see coming.” RT BOOK REVIEWS 4 1/2 Stars TOP PICK


Author PhotoAbout Jennifer L. Armentrout:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Links:

Website \ Twitter \ Facebook \ Jennifer L. Armentrout Goodreads \ DON’T LOOK BACK Goodreads

Friday, April 11, 2014

'The House of Chalice' by T.T. Escurel


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen commenter will receive a $20 Amazon gift card, an autographed copy of AURONIA, and an autographed copy of THE HOUSE OF CHALICE. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Vartan is lost. His fiancé has just run off with his mortal enemy and now his mother, the Queen of the House of Rose, has disappeared. Venturing into a land with no magic, no army and no fiancé, will he be able to survive?

Lia is in trouble. Clashpeak has a new king who requires a bride, one who has eyes for the young baker’s daughter. During a violent coup, Lia seizes her chance to escape. With every soldier in the kingdom looking for her, nowhere is safe.

An ancient curse lingers in the air, still working its magic. Madness has seized the blood of the royals of the House of Chalice. A battle for power, the likes of nothing Auronia has ever seen, is about to begin…

Enjoy an excerpt:

Cries of alarm race through the camp as the order to fight goes out. Serena approaches, leading her snow-white mare. She is decked out in leather battle gear with a white fur mantle. A silver dagger hangs from one hip with a swirling purple jewel in the hilt. On the other hip, a rapier.

“You aren’t seriously considering riding to war, Serena,” I growl.

“You couldn’t stop me if you wanted to, Vartan,” she counters, mounting up. “This is my army. I will ride with my men.”

“This is no army, as you stated earlier. These are simple farmers going up against trained soldiers. Without magic, there is little chance we will survive this,” I say, stepping up on my horse.

“My love,” she says, moving her mare to stand beside me, “That is precisely why I must ride with you.” She runs her hand down the fur at her shoulders. “When you ride with me, magic rides with you.”

I frown. “I don’t understand.”

“Feel,” she says, grabbing my hand and running it down the soft fur. I feel a buzz, but I am not really sure if it is from the fur or from the girl. “It is the pelt of an ancient fox, laced with magic older and more powerful than even that of the fairies.”

“Where did you find it?” I ask.

“I killed the fox,” she says, urging her horse forward.

About the Author:
Science Fiction/Fantasy writer in Southern California where the sun shines, the waves roll in and the roads become a backdrop for an apocalypse movie every time the word "precipitation" is mentioned.

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up on a sailboat. That did something odd to my imagination, I think. There is a certain type of surreal serenity that comes with living aboard a boat. That undercurrent seems to run through all my books, even though most of my characters have far more conventional backgrounds. Growing up on a boat helped teach me a stable world evolves not from your environment as much as from your perspective. My books are full of strange worlds and even stranger people, but all my main characters seem to have that grip on reality despite being dropped in the heart of chaos.

Blog: http://ttescurel.wordpress.com
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/T.T.-Escurel/e/B00EAHPJKK
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/t.t.-escurel/id741251013?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/t.-t.-escurel
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ttescurel

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Review of the 'Stories About Melissa' series by Bethany Lopez


Blurb:

Melissa begins her freshman year with one goal in mind, getting Brian Jackson to be her boyfriend. She will soon learn that things don't necessarily turn out the way you plan them, the value of true friendship, and the importance of family.

**My thoughts**

This book was really cute! It is written as a bunch of journal entries by Melissa, a fourteen year-old girl who has just entered her freshman year of high school. She is the oldest of four children, with two younger sisters and a younger brother. Closest in age is her sister Megan, who is the polar opposite of Melissa. Melissa is really into fashion, boys, and looking good. Megan, on the other hand, doesn't care what she looks like and hangs out with the boys. She makes Melissa absolutely crazy!

Melissa gets herself into a bit of trouble when she finally starts dating Brian. For the first time ever, she is getting into fights, exposed to alcohol, and being heavily impacted emotionally by the choices of her new friends. She is not the same person!

But, Megan learns some good life lessons as she learns how to cope with all of these issues. 

It's a positive voice in the world of young adult literature, that would be appropriate enough for even middle schoolers to read. I probably would have even loved this book around the age of 9, looking ahead to those high school years. Situations seem pretty realistic, and the journal idea is one that speaks to girls as readers, I think. The characters also seem realistic, though some of their conversations are almost "After School Special" -ish. That's okay, though, because it teaches kids how they SHOULD be communicating with each other, and some of them may actually do it in real life. I am looking forward to reading the next installment!

Buy links
Amazon \ Barnes & Noble \ Kobo


Blurb:

Melissa has learned a lot since her freshman year began, but it isn't over yet! Her world is about to change again with the birth of her new sibling, and she has to figure out how she will adjust to being the eldest of five kids. She, Jess, and Jimmy are inseparable, and she is having a fantastic time although she can't help but miss Brian as she tries to learn how to deal with his relationship with Layla. Everything seems to be happening at once and that is when she is introduced to Ben Campbell, a senior at Dearborn High, who becomes an interesting distraction as he helps her deal with the new developments in her life.

**My thoughts**

This second installment in the series is an even faster read than the first one. I am still a fan of Melissa and her tell-all style in her journal. It's about six months since she left us in Ta Ta For Now and her whole world is about to change. Her mother has been ill during this entire pregnancy, and the new baby is going to completely change all of their lives in a way that they never imagined. Without giving away the details, I have to say thank you to Bethany Lopez for this little plot twist, because it isn't one that you often see in books. I can see a lot coming up in the future with this storyline.

Melissa's little sister Megan is definitely going through some serious hormonal changes and is even more annoying. Yet Melissa keeps looking out for her, as all good big sisters should do for their younger siblings.  

Melissa continues to learn more about friendship and young love as she wraps up her first year in high school. I love all of the references to places that they go, because I grew up about an hour or so south of Dearborn, in Toledo, OH. The lifestyle and the scenery and so many of the references feel like home to me. 

Just as after reading the first book, I am looking forward to the next installment. 

Buy links

Blurb:

Melissa has had a fantastic summer hanging out with her friends and making new ones. Life as she knows it will change when they all come together to begin their sophomore year at Dearborn High. Connections will be made and friendships will be tested. Will Melissa’s family and friends be able to help her through the challenges she will face in the upcoming months?

**My thoughts**

New people coming to town and infiltrating your group can make everything change. Cassie is new to the area, but quickly becomes good friends with Melissa and her group. But Cassie's appearance also means new love relationships. Melissa has to sort out her feelings toward the boys she has been juggling in her heart and has a hard time doing it. That's the best part about a journal in these situations - you really get inside her head as she tries to figure out what is going on. Giovanni, the Italian exchange student, is another fun addition.

Tensions are mounting at home, as Melissa and Megan keep on fighting. I have to say that I have never seen two girls roll around and fight as much as these two! My younger sister and I left the physical aspect of our fighting behind us at a much younger age, though we did have epic arguments for several more years.

Like in the other two books, Melissa's voice rings clear and true as she continues to navigate those tricky waters of adolescence. A major life lesson comes into play, one that so many teenagers face and should never have to face. With the experience comes a new level of maturity in Melissa, but also a new set of problems sure to come in the next installment. 

Another fast and fun read.

Buy links

Blurb:

The last few months have been a rough road for Melissa. Her grades have slipped, her parents treat her like a prisoner, and her closest friends are too involved in their own lives to spend time with her. Desperate to escape her depressing funk, she starts spending more time with Layla, who introduces her to a new crowd...the wrong crowd. When Melissa starts to go down a dangerous path, can anyone get through to her before she does something she'll regret?

**My thoughts**

It's easy to get sucked into the wrong crowd when a hot man is leading the way. I was just like Melissa for years, well into college, falling for the hottie musician. There is just something about the lead singer of a band, or the brooding guitarist. You want to impress him a bit, so you may venture out of your comfort zone and do a few naughty things. Props to Melissa, though, because she does draw the line at a few more serious situations.

It sucks when all of your friends keep growing and maturing and taking different paths along the way. It's a part of life that can sometimes move a little faster in high school, as everyone is dating and working through those hormones. Plus, life at home is still tough as they adjust to Max and to Mom not working. Her relationship with Megan continues to ebb and flow. Most of the time they are fighting, but still defend each other if someone else gets in the way.

Melissa gets herself into a lot of trouble along the way, but again manages to learn some good lessons. She continues to grow and to mature with each installment. This was yet another super fast read for me, and now I am sad that I have to wait for the next one to come out!

Buy links

About the Author

Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. Since then she has published various YA and NA books. She is a lover of romance, family, and friends, and enjoys incorporating those things in what she writes. When she isn't reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible.

Author Links:


***GIVEAWAY***
1 set of paperbacks of the series
1 set of ebooks of the series
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

'Illusion' by Jamie A. Hope Book Tour Blast!

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illusionILLUSION


THE REVELATIONS SERIES


By Jamie A. Hope

When alluring teenager Salem Stone becomes a magnet for assaulting demons and suddenly develops superhuman abilities, family secrets are revealed that will not only endanger his life and the life of his childhood love—but the lives of everyone on earth.

Back Story: Magnetic teenager Salem Stone dominates the football field, wrestling mat, and hearts of all of the girls at his school. But off the mat he is easy going, especially when it comes to his childhood love, Sarah.

Salem lives a charmed life until he is attacked by demons, leaving him with physical wounds. Salem struggles to keep the repeated assaults a secret, until he confides in his long time best friend Ben, who strangely dismisses the wounds with a logical explanation.

When Salem attempts to outrun the menacing demons, he develops superhuman abilities, leaving him with even more questions. Looking for an escape from the mental and physical torture, he becomes fixated on an irresistible new girl at school, Lily. As Salem focuses his attention on Lily, everything around him devolves into chaos, including his relationship with Sarah.

What he soon finds is the relentless pursuits by demons and his superhuman abilities are triggered by the same source—life threatening family secrets. Just when he thinks his family and friends are not who he thought they were, he discovers he's not who he thought he was either—and that he is the most hunted teenager on the planet. And he has just been found.

Buy on Kindle | Paperback




About the author:

Jamie Hope grew up in the heart of the automotive industry. Because of her constant hijinks and inability to journey, she created her own world filled with constant adventure where everyone was in trouble except her. As a mother of two, Jamie continues to visit her fictional world where she can vacation from her parental responsibilities and continue her once-upon-a-time hijinks.

Jamie has a B.A. in Business Administration from Michigan State University. She is a contributor for American Thinker, a 2012 top rated online public policy website, a substitute teacher, and an instructor for the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps.

Jamie has been featured in her local news!

Teaching local elementary kids just isn't quite enough for Jamie Hope. The 37-year old mother and substitute teacher from St. Johns just had her first novel "Illusion" published. It was released February 20 and is a young-adult sci-fi effort aimed at the kids she teaches. - WILX Ch 10

http://www.wilx.com/home/headlines/Local-Substitute-Teacher-Pens-Sci-Fi-Novel-246991551.html

She was also featured on 99.1 WFMK, the biggest morning talk show radio program in the State of Michigan, with Michael Patrick Shiels : http://michigansbigshow.blogspot.com/2014/02/thursday-february-27-2014.html


Author Social Media:

Twitter: @jamieahope Facebook: Jamie A. Hope Email: jamieannhope(at)gmail.com Website: jamieahope.com

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