Tuesday, July 31, 2012

'Doll House' Review and Giveaway

Book Blurb:

Fifteen-year-old Aisha disappears in the dark forests on a school hiking trip. She's the latest in a string of children to vanish there over the past five years. The towns surrounding the forests are on edge and they want answers. And wildboy Ethan—Aisha's boyfriend—is on the run after he and his grandfather are blamed for her disappearance.

Cassie is just about the only friend Ethan has left. She's been secretly in love with him ever since her mother dragged her to the wilds of Australia from Florida six months ago. 
Desperate to prove Ethan's innocence, Cassie searches the forests with Ethan to find out what really happened to Aisha. But Ethan's growing strangely silent, and Cassie's left questioning if her feelings for him are clouding her judgment. 
Cassie discovers a dark secret lurking in the heart of the forests; a secret world of nightmarish horrors—where nothing is as it seems, where the supernatural invades your soul, where the people she trusts most might be the people she can trust least, and where escape exists only in dreams.

A YA Paranormal Mystery/Horror

My thoughts:
This was one of the creepiest stories I have read in a long time. I mean creepy in a good way, and not quite scary. The first third of the book seemed okay and did go by quickly. The friends were out and about, trying to find their missing friend. Suddenly, they are swept into a dark and macabre world that is absolutely horrifying. What's real? What isn't? Your head spins like the dizzying hands on the clock as you try to figure out what is going on and how they can get out of this. I was absolutely riveted for the rest of the book and sad when it ended. This is just the first book in a trilogy, though, so there will be more to read. I even want to reread this book, to see if I can pick up on more clues, now that I know the truth about what was going on.

The whole time I was reading the book, I could easily picture it all in my head as if I was watching a movie unfold. I think it would make a great horror flick. I can guarantee you will never look at your Raggedy Ann doll nor a carousel in the same way again.

About the author:
Anya Allyn lives near the beach an hour north of Sydney, Australia. She loves anywhere outdoors that is natural and wild. Or anywhere indoors where Black Forest Cake is on offer. She has four amazing boys and enjoys their energy and happy-go-lucky spirit, and wishes she could plug into some of that energy on days when her 'get up and go' has packed up and gone! She is a former Features' Editor/Community Manager for a media organisation in Australia. The idea for Doll House was born after a trip to the beautiful Barrington Tops region of Australia--sparked by places there such as Devils Hole, Ladies Well and Thunderbolt's Way.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

'Knee Deep' Blog Tour - Review

Knee Deep


Shawn is the guy Ronnie Bird promised her life to at the age of fourteen. He's her soul mate. He's more uptight every day, but it's not his fault. His family life is stressful, and she's adding to it. She just needs to be more understanding, and he'll start to be the boy she fell in love with. She won’t give up on someone she’s loved for so long.

Luke is her best friend, and the guy she hangs with to watch girlie movies in her large blanketopias. He's the guy she can confide in before she even goes to her girlfriends, and the guy who she's playing opposite in Romeo and Juliet. Now her chest flutters every time he gets too close. This is new. Is Ronnie falling for him? Or is Juliet? The lines are getting blurry, but leaving one guy for another is not something that a girl like Ronnie does.

Shawn’s outbursts are starting to give her bruises, and Luke’s heart breaks as Ronnie remains torn. While her thoughts and feelings swirl around the lines between friendship and forever, she’s about to lose them both.

My Thoughts:

This is the kind of book that all teenage girls need to read. Even grown up girls need to have a reminder to stay true to themselves. Don't let a man hurt you, ever. It's not okay, no matter how much he says he is sorry.

Most of us have known someone like Ronnie. Their stories may not have been exactly the same. Maybe the bruises were more emotional than physical. The denial and excuses are always the same, as is the devastation that occurs. Perhaps you have even been Ronnie on some level in a relationship. Her story is familiar and painful to read. The whole time you just want to reach in and shake her for sticking with Shawn and not seeing what she can have with Luke. She is so fortunate to have the friends and family that she does.

This book is an emotional one. I actually cried toward the end of it. I was also choked up at one point when Ronnie's father, who is a therapist, says something along the lines of, "This is my job. This is what I do. And even I didn't realize what was going on." The sad thing is, we can miss it when we are too close to the situation.

Yes, this is a story that has been told time and time again. But it is different this time, because it is Ronnie's story. And it needed to be told.

Buy Links:
Kindle | Nook | iBookstore | Google Books | Smashwords | PDF

About the Author:

Jolene grew up in Wasilla, Alaska. She graduated from Southern Utah University with a degree in political science and French, which she used to teach math to middle schoolers.

After living in Washington, Utah and Las Vegas, she now resides in Alaska with her husband, and two children. Aside from writing, Jolene sews, plays the guitar, sings when forced, and spends as much time outside as possible.

She is also the author of Night Sky and The Next Door Boys.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Winners of the Birthday Giveaway!

Thank you so much to all of the wonderful authors who donated ebooks to my birthday giveaway! We had a lot of entries and a lot of winners. All winners were chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, powered by Random.org. Thank you to everyone who entered! Winners have all been notified via email. Here are the winners:

Breanne W. - mystery swag pack surprise! (A bonus prize not listed on the original post!)

Jaime C. & Amy B. - An e-copy of The Vampire Hunter's Daughter ( Complete Collection!) by Jennifer Malone Wright

Lori O. - The King Series by Tawdra Kandle

Shanna R., Rose H., Belinda G. - First Call by Kary English

Lyndi B. & Giedre S. - The Gryphon series by Stacey Rourke

Jennifer S. - $10 gift card

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review of 'A Passion for Victory: The Story of the Olympics in Ancient and Modern Times'

It's the Summer of 2012, which means it is time for the Summer Olympics in London, England. This athletic tradition has deeper roots than some kids can imagine. A Passion for Victory seeks to tell the story of that tradition, starting with the Ancient Greeks through the early modern era.

It opens with a chronology that highlights major events. The first story is about a man who survived the icy waters after the Titanic sank and went on to be an Olympic champion. The timing of that story is also notable because 2012 marks the 100 year-anniversary of the Titanic sinking.

The first two chapters go into a lot of detail about the original Olympic games that took place in Ancient Greece. It compares those games to the modern ones. The next several chapters focus on the revival of the modern Olympic games in the 1800s, particularly the first 100 years. The epilogue focuses on the Olympics around WWII and includes several photographs. An appendix features lists of medal records won from 1896 to 1948.

This book reads very much like a textbook and isn't as engaging as others I have read. The language used is more appropriate for older readers, which is why I have it classified as young adult and not so much as a chapter book. Also, discussions of Hitler and political topics are more appropriate for older students. These aspects of the Olympics are not as often discussed when talking about the topic. I did also notice much more discussion of women in the politics, as well. It is full of lots of information and resources for further study.

I received a complimentary eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review of 'Something Like Normal'

Travis comes home for a month on break from the Marines. He has just lost his best friend Charlie in Afghanistan. His girlfriend Paige is now dating his brother, yet still wants to screw him. His father is a retired professional football player who is pissed at him for not following in his footsteps. He has been gone for a year and feels lost and disassociated from his former world. And he keeps seeing his dead friend everywhere.

It's yet another case of PTSD and not a topic often found in YA literature. It's a heart-wrenching story that makes you feel sad as you're reading it. Travis tells his story in his own words and shares a lot of his feelings, but has a hard time being completely forthcoming with it all. He has to come to terms with a lot of emotions and decisions made in the heat of the moment, both in country and abroad. As he explores these, he reveals more and more. We're just along for the ride.

His silver lining comes in the form of Harper. She is the girl he kissed during a game of Seven Minutes in Heaven during middle school. Stupidly telling the other guys that he had gotten a little boob action while making out with her, Travis accidentally starts a rumor that quickly spirals out of control and ruins Harper's reputation for good in school. When they first meet up with each other, she gives him a deserved punch in the face, but then softens toward him. It's a plausible type of relationship.

Something Like Normal is a desire that many of us have in life, especially those who are thrust into situations that change their lives. It isn't going to leave with a sunny, happy feeling about life, but will make you think about your choices in life and those about whom you really care.

The publisher recommends this book for ages 14 and above. Sexual scenes are present and alluded to, but not detailed.

I received a complimentary set of galleys in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cover Reveal! 'Shift' by Raine Thomas

Shift: Firstborn #2
By Raine Thomas
Release Date: August 24, 2012

Book Description from Goodreads:
Having the ability to shapeshift, Sophia is familiar with change. But even she feels the rising tension in her homeland.

A shadowy male and deadly beast reside in their midst. The births of the newest Kynzesti loom. Hostile Mercesti continue to hunt for the Elder Scroll, and a traumatized female is too afraid to use her abilities to stop them.

Topping off Sophia’s stress is Quincy, the male she’s convinced can’t stand her. She rues the loss of their friendship, but can’t figure out how to move past it. She’ll soon learn, however, that mending that rift bears more significance than she ever imagined.

The search for the Elder Scroll takes on unexpected urgency, and Sophia finds herself in a race across the mainland. To stop the Mercesti led by Eirik, she and her companions must get past their differences and unite against them. If they don’t, Eirik will acquire the immense power he seeks, and two of the beings Sophia loves most will die.

Add to Goodreads:

Raine Thomas

DEFY (Firstborn Trilogy, Book 1) - NOW AVAILABLE - order here


'The Unsacred Gift' Book Tour - Review

The Unsacred Gift

Have you ever had a dream that came to life? How about losing the one you love and not being able to save them? What about a gift that you were cursed with? Well image having all three like Sicily “Sissy” Monroe.

“Some might say what I have is a gift. I say, I want to return it.” Sissy declares.

Sicily “Sissy” Monroe has all the qualities of a perfect young lady. She is almost where she wants to be in life. But lying deep in the pupil of her eyes hold something that she cannot get rid of which interferes with her plans. She fights everyday with no one but herself. After having her first vision at age six of her sister’s (Misty) disappearance and the dreams of failing to save her, Sissy wants no part in another person’s fate. For years Sissy tried hard to avoid contact with people because she feared foreseeing their death. In keeping with this, she tries to stay away from her family. Little did Sissy know she could not run from her past, or her gift. She hopes someone will put her out of her misery, but she will soon discover that her visions and dreams were just a mere image of herself.

My Thoughts
I couldn't put this book down. From the opening scene where Sissy has her first vision and is helplessly watching her sister drown, you are drawn into her painful story. Fifteen years later, it is still haunting her in the middle of the night, in her dreams, and almost ruining her life. If someone touches her, she can see their future death. Those deaths often occur shortly after their encounter. Each one rips a new hole inside of Sissy. She doesn't feel that she can talk to anyone about her "gift," because no one will believe her. In fact, no one ever even talks about Misty anymore, nor are her pictures anywhere to be found. This just tears her up even more and hurts you almost as much.

She leaves home for college and doesn't return. She gives in to her mother when her mother begs her to come home for her grandmother's birthday weekend. Four years of staying away means a lot of changes are taking place back home. Everyone is getting older and making new life decisions. She is filled with even more conflict and confusion. She dwells on mundane details, such as how much food her mother is making for her or how many clothes she has bought at the mall. She is so sad that it is hard for her to focus so intently on the bigger picture.

One of the best things for her is reconnecting with her old crush, even though that part felt quite rushed for the length of time in which this story takes place. She hasn't seen him in over four years. She is only home for the weekend at that point. They didn't speak much in high school. At the same time, you  are cheering for her to find some kind of happiness in the middle of her turmoil.

Sissy's journey toward self-discovery is quite painful and strikes a chord in you. It is much darker than traditional teen angst, making it even more heart-wrenching. The ending may surprise you. It is quite abrupt, but leaves a wallop of an impact on you. Though I had an inkling, I still yelled out loud and made my furry kids jump. You may also be compelled to immediately return to the start and re-read, so that you can find all of the clues that you have missed the first time around. It's an excellent read and a great first attempt by this author.

Purchase this book on Kindle or in paperback.

Follow the Tour

July 9 – Review Mommy Reads too Much
July 10- Review My Crafty Life
July 11 – Review – ReadingDiva’s Blog
July 12 Excerpt – Taking Time for Mommy
Review – Couponing with Boys
July 13 Interview – Ereading on the Cheap
July 16 Review – The Shopping Duck
July 17- Review Inspirations by Simone
July 18- review The Deals and More
July 19-Review Niki’s book Corner
July 20- Guest Post- Insights by April
Review  Andi’s Young Adult

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's my big birthday giveaway! Ends July 26th

Today is my birthday. I love to celebrate, so I am hosting this big giveaway! I teamed up with some of my author friends to bring you some cool ebooks and swag. You can also win a gift card! Similar giveaways are taking place on my other blogs at Andi's Kids Books (and Andi's Chapter Books has the same) and Andi's Book Reviews, just with different book options.

Click on a book cover to purchase a copy of any of these books from Amazon, or to find out more about them. Remember to enter the Rafflecopter below! Thanks for stopping by and supporting us!

The Gryphon Series by Stacey Rourke

 All 18-year-old Celeste Garrett wants is to head off to college and make those fun, yet ill-advised, choices college kids are known for. And maybe to spend some time with the hot cameraman she just met. Instead, because of a pact her ancestors made in the 17th century with a mythical creature, she has to save the world. While normal kids are slamming energy drinks and cramming for exams, Celeste will get her adrenaline rush fighting a fire breathing dragon. She wants to meet friends in the quad to exchange lecture notes, but first she must exchange blows with a shapeshifting demon on the rooftop. Life isn’t always fair for a superhero, but at least she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her brother and sister as sidekicks, they alternate between saving lives and getting on each others’ nerves. Together the trio encounters unspeakable odds, mystical forces and comes face-to-face with an image that will haunt them forever—their grandmother in a leopard print bikini. "Okay, little side note here. If a psychopathic killer asks if you want to see a trick, say no. That’s the smart thing to do. I, on the other hand, responded, 'Bring it'.” -excerpt from THE CONDUIT

Whether she likes it or not, eighteen year old Celeste Garrett has come to terms with being the Chosen One. She knew having a “normal life” would be tricky, between intense training sessions and epic demonic battles, but she didn’t know at what cost it would come. That is, until a dear friend is harmed by the malicious forces hunting her. Now, she’d like nothing more than to retreat into a hermit lifestyle to prevent anyone else from getting hurt. But startling revelations, amazing new abilities, and mortifying moments in front of insanely hot guys won’t allow time for that. Soon, Celeste finds herself surrounded by darkness and wondering who she can trust—if anyone.

Stacey Rourke is the author of the humorous, action-packed Gryphon Series. The series begins with The Conduit, available now, and continues with Embrace this summer. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant, drooly dogs. Currently she is hard at work with next Gryphon Series novel as well as other literary projects. 

First Call (The Farthane Series) by Kary English

An ancient cataclysm. A mystical order. A young initiate on the cusp of transformation.

"When the Call comes, it must be obeyed."

Since the time of shadow and ash, the citizens of Eriyu have been guided by the Judicars, a mystical order devoted to truth and justice. Jerra, a young initiate, is ready to face the final trial that will allow her to become a full-fledged Judicar. When Jerra's own mentor turns against her, Truth is difficult to see.

Length: 6,200 words (36 pages of manuscript), including a short novel excerpt
Genre: fantasy, action & adventure, coming of age
Market: written for adults but YA-friendly (no sex, no swearing)

This story was a first-quarter semi-finalist in the 2012 Writers of the Future Contest. 

Kary English grew up in the snowy Midwest where she avoided both siblings and frostbite by reading book after book in a warm corner behind the recliner chair. She blames her one and only high school detention on Douglas Adams, whose Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy caused her to laugh out loud while reading it behind her geometry textbook.

Today, Kary toils in obscurity in an ivory tower somewhere west of the Mississippi. Her written work includes several academic publications, a K-12 language arts curriculum, anti-bullying materials, and news articles on some of the world's most popular websites. A student of New York Times bestsellers David Farland and Tracy Hickman, Kary hopes that her own work will someday be detention-worthy. 

The King Series by Tawdra Kandle

FEARLESS--Tasmyn Vaughn didn't expect much when her dad’s job moved them to a small town in Florida; it was just another new school. But there is more to King than meets the eye, and soon Tasmyn’s ability to hear other’s thoughts is the least of her worries. Entangled in a web of first love, quirky and secretive townsfolk, magic and blood rituals, she discovers the town’s secrets aren’t just bizarre, they’re deadly.

BREATHLESS--Tasmyn Vaughn is not having the senior year she expected. Her boyfriend Michael leaves for college, she's being stalked by a suspicious preacher, pursued by the hot new boy at school and blackmailed by her chemistry teacher--who just might be a witch. Tas needs all of her many talents--and a little help from unexpected sources--just to keep her head above water. . .literally.

RESTLESS--When she agrees to allow Ms. Lacusta to help develop her powers, Tasmyn has no idea how deep and dark the journey will become. Trapped between fascination and fear, she moves farther away from friends and family, even her boyfriend Michael. Leading a double life forces Tas into decisions that will threaten her sanity and her future… and the very lives of those she loves.

Tawdra Kandle is the author of the King series, a young adult urban fantasy quartet. Born in south Jersey, Tawdra published her first short story at the age of 13 in Young Life magazine. During the early years of her marriage and motherhood, she wrote articles and columns on parenting and homeschooling, as well as some homeschooling curriculum. Tawdra currently lives in central Florida with her husband and children.

The Vampire Hunter's Daughter Complete Series

This special edition of The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter contains parts I-VI, the complete collection. Fourteen-year-old Chloe witnesses her mother’s murder at the hands of a vampire. Before the vampire can kidnap her, there is an unexpected rescue by a group of vampire hunters.

Overwhelmed by the feeling of safety, Chloe passes out and they whisk her away to their small community. When Chloe wakes, she comes face to face with the only other living relative, besides her mother, whom she has ever met: her grandfather. Chloe’s mother kept her hidden from the family; now, Chloe tries to unveil the family secrets.

Through her grandfather, she learns her mother was a vampire hunter. In fact, her entire family is descended from the powerful bloodlines of vampire hunters. Chloe agrees to join the family she has never known for one reason only: Chloe vows to kill the vampire responsible for her mother’s murder. With vengeance in her soul, Chloe is even more determined to follow through on her vow when she discovers the true identity of her enemy and how he is connected to her.

Experience the world of vampires hunter’s, vampires and mythology with Chloe in this exciting series.

Jennifer Malone Wright resides in the beautiful mountains of northern Idaho with her husband and five children. Between the craziness of taking care of her children, whose ages range from fifteen all the way down to one year, and being a homemaker, Jennifer has little time left for herself. The time she does have left, usually leading far into the night, is spent working on freelance work or her beloved fiction.

When she grew up, Jennifer always had her nose in a book. She has been writing stories and poems since grade school. This love of the written word and her strong interest in the paranormal is what has led to her first novel "The Birth of Jaiden," and her new series "The Vampire Hunter's Daughter."

In addition to being a mother and homemaker, Jennifer is also a very proud military wife. Moving around the country for the last eleven years has made her a bit of a nomad and she finds it difficult to be in one place for too long.

Please visit the website to learn more www.jenniferwrightauthor.com

Good luck to all who enter and special thanks to the authors for sharing!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

'The Unsacred Gift' Book Tour

The Unsacred Gift

Have you ever had a dream that came to life? How about losing the one you love and not being able to save them? What about a gift that you were cursed with? Well image having all three like Sicily “Sissy” Monroe.

“Some might say what I have is a gift. I say, I want to return it.” Sissy declares.

Sicily “Sissy” Monroe has all the qualities of a perfect young lady. She is almost where she wants to be in life. But lying deep in the pupil of her eyes hold something that she cannot get rid of which interferes with her plans. She fights everyday with no one but herself. After having her first vision at age six of her sister’s (Misty) disappearance and the dreams of failing to save her, Sissy wants no part in another person’s fate. For years Sissy tried hard to avoid contact with people because she feared foreseeing their death. In keeping with this, she tries to stay away from her family. Little did Sissy know she could not run from her past, or her gift. She hopes someone will put her out of her misery, but she will soon discover that her visions and dreams were just a mere image of herself.
Kindle | Paperback

Follow the Tour July 9 – Review Mommy Reads too Much
July 10- Review My Crafty Life
July 11 – Review – ReadingDiva’s Blog
July 12 Excerpt – Taking Time for Mommy
Review – Couponing with Boys
July 13 Interview – Ereading on the Cheap
July 16 Review – The Shopping Duck
July 17- Review Inspirations by Simone
July 18- review The Deals and More
July 19-Review Niki’s book Corner
July 20- Guest Post- Insights by April
Review  Andi’s Young Adult

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Light Tamer Blog Tour - Review and Giveaway

   The Light Tamer (The Light Tamer Trilogy)

Jessie moved from New York to North Carolina one week after school let out for summer break. Her newly single mother and Jessie move in with grandma Gayle. Being a teen in a retirement area, is one more thing to add to her ‘this sucks’ list. It’s bad enough to have to move, but even worse her alcoholic father left them as he went on a quest to be an artist in Greece.

Things begin to look up when she is reintroduced to Caleb, the dorky boy that saved her life one summer at the beach. Caleb is no longer scrawny and nerdy, he is now tall, dark and handsome. Caleb is a Light Tamer.

Jessie and Amber become fast friends. Amber is a no frills girl, her snarky comments and sassy attitude will raise a few eyebrows and have you laughing out loud. Amber is rough around the edges, a light tamer with only two years left to find the one she is bound to. Her father’s surfing accident left her dad paralyzed and her brother dead.

This paranormal romance will keep you on the edge of your seat with humor, romance, and determination. Fall head over heels for Caleb and Jessie.

My thoughts...

This was a quick and easy read in one evening. Jessie is a typical teenage girl who is less than enthusiastic about having to move in with her grandmother. At least her grandmother is a cool lady, though she can also be a little bit embarrassing. Grandma hooks her up with Caleb, the formerly nerdy boy with whom she has only interacted a few times. He has turned into quite the hottie! They are immediately attracted to each other, which just doesn't seem realistic and possible. But remember, they are connected by a deeper power because they are both Light Tamers. They are bonded to each other through those few past experiences.

Caleb has this annoying ability to be able to read Jessie's mind, intruding upon every thought she has. While it comes in handy in sticky situations, it causes her a great deal of embarrassment as he is privy to every ounce of her teen angst about being in a relationship. At least she is able to quickly make it work to her advantage.

Amber is a fun foil to Jessie's personality. She is crude and outspoken, providing a bit of comic relief. She is also deeply scared and hurt by past tragedies. Grandma, excuse me, Ms. Gayle, is also another bit of comic relief, and an almost surprising source of strength and knowledge.

The idea of light versus dark is glaringly obvious in this battle of good versus evil. I find the power of the light to be an interesting concept. The main antagonist who can cause Jessie the most problems is someone you may not be expecting. The book ends after one major skirmish and promises a lot of action in the next one. I look forward to watching how this series develops.

Buy Kindle / Paperback / Nook / Smashwords

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Review of Oppression by Jessica Therrien

Elyse is almost 90 years old in her real life, but to the rest of the world she is only 18 years old. She was born with some strange genetic abnormality that causes her to age five times slower than a regular person. She was orphaned at the age of 50, though she seemed to be a mere 10 years old. She and her parents were in a car accident. Prior to that, they had always told her that she would learn to live under the radar, as they had. Her adoptive mother quickly discovered how necessary that was, but was unable to answer any of Elyse's thousands of questions.

The only person who currently knows her secret is her best friend Anna. The two of them met in elementary school, but Anna is a regular human. Elyse can't imagine life without her.

When Elyse decides to check out the coffee shop below her new apartment, she is shocked when the cute boy behind the counter already knows her name. For reasons she cannot understand, she trusts him when he grabs her hand and tells her to come with him. He already knows her name, as do a bunch of other young people whom she meets through him. By meeting them, she begins to learn the truth about herself and others just like her. They are all descendents of Greek gods and goddesses, but she is more special than the rest of them. She has an important role to play and they have been waiting a long time for her.

I recently finished reading Pulse of Heroes by A. Jacob Sweeny, and this book reminded me of that one in many ways. Heroine is a descendent of Greek gods and goddesses, has secret powers, is the chosen one to save the population, and had no idea about any of it. Yet this one was different enough that I could still enjoy it as its own story. It did take me a bit to get started in those first couple of chapters. Once the story got rolling, though, I was hard-pressed to put down the Kindle.

I liked the character of Elyse. She has been on her own for so long, she isn't sure what to do with her sudden group of new friends. With all of her secrets, she has never had the chance to have a group of friends who are also her peers. I'm a little partial to Sam, who is a descendent of Dionysus. She has a fierce devotion to her best friend, Anna, and Anna's daughter Chloe. Her attraction to William is cute, because she has never even been kissed before. They have an intense connection that would seem implausible under normal circumstances, yet makes perfect sense given their backgrounds. She is going to grow into herself and her abilities, especially as she eventually understands more about them. People criticize the book for characters being in their 80s and 90s, yet acting like teenagers. In their world, though, they are teenagers. They are not normal humans, so you cannot have the same expectations of them.

Elyse is also in grave danger, because of her special position. Sometimes it is hard to know whom you can trust. A few of the characters are easily the bad guys; a couple seem to waver back and forth. I have a feeling that more of the reasoning behind their battles will be revealed as the series continues. I also hope we get to know more about the other characters and their roles as the series continues. I look forward to reading more of them.

This book is available both in hard copy and for your Kindle.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review of The Conduit by Stacey Rourke

Celeste and her siblings get shoved from Michigan to Tennessee, to stay with their spunky grandmother. There have simply been too many break-ins around their home in Michigan, so their mother thinks they will be safer down there. She has no idea how wrong she actually is.

All Celeste wants to do is get ready for college in the fall. Her brother, Gabe, is a college dropout. Her younger sister, Kendall, is preoccupied with Keith across the street. Alec is the cute cameraman who accidentally enters Celeste's life and peaks her interest.

One day while out in the woods, Celeste runs into an old woman who presents as a large, exotic bird. She tells Celeste that they have been looking for her and her siblings for quite some time. Celeste passes out, only to be rescued by Alec. As she recovers, she finds a note explaining to her the power of the empathe. She begins to notice changes in her ability to read the feelings of others. Gabe starts to swell up like the Hulk. Kendall is literally floating on air in love. The transformation into superheroes is just beginning for these three, who have a centuries' old battle getting ready to reignite.

Celeste and her family are amusing characters. The siblings have a strong bond that unites them in their fight against evil. They can encourage each other while also harassing each other to no end, just as you would expect siblings to do. Their quirky grandmother allows for a lot of other comic relief. Early on in the book, I had a weird feeling about Alec. Something is missing from his story, which will likely develop in the second book.

I felt like the characters grew into their powers almost overnight, not really having a lot of time to prepare, nor a lot of instruction before they were thrust into battle. They had a quick rundown of their ancestor's history with the Gryphon, but a lot of questions have been left unanswered. Their battles have only just begun, though, and more should be revealed as the series continues.

The Conduit is a fast read, with short chapters. I read it in just a couple of hours while sitting outside this summer. It ends somewhat abruptly with a cliffhanger that isn't completely surprising, yet enough to whet your appetite for the next part. It's a fun story, with lots of promise for future installments.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This book is available in both hard copy and for your Kindle.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review of Death of a Dreamer

John Lennon had a dream. He imagined a peaceful world where everyone got along and was happy. His dream was snuffed out too early by Mark David Chapman, who gunned him down in violence. Alison Marie Behnke takes a look at these two contrasting figures in her book Death of a Dreamer.

Instead of focusing on John's musical career, Behnke profiles him and the times in which he lived. She explains the society of the times and how they shaped John's beliefs. She also shares how John helped to influence the society of the time.

The middle of the book takes a deeper look into the troubled soul of Mark David Chapman, the gunman who put down the voice of a generation. His troubled soul is evident in the confusion of his stories about why he assassinated Lennon and the events leading up to the act.

I like this different take on the story because it puts the events into an historical context that makes more sense for younger generations who weren't even alive at the time. It focuses on Lennon the man and the dream, not so much his music. While the music was very influential, it's John's passion for peace and his beliefs that prompted Chapman to snuff out his life.

The book is written more for the young adult genre, but it is captivating and informative, even for an adult.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Excerpts, Review and Giveaway for Reign of Blood by Alexia Purdy

This past week over at Andi's Book Reviews, I have been hosting a blog tour for Alexia Purdy, featuring her book Reign of Blood. This vampire hunter book is classified as young adult, though I felt it was highly appropriate for adults, as well. Read on to find out more about the book and Alexia, read some excerpts and enter the giveaway for a free copy and some fun swag!


"Never tease anything that wants to eat you. My name is April Tate and my blood is the new gold. Vampires and hybrids have overrun my world, once vibrant with life, but now a graveyard of death shrouded in shadows. I fight to survive; I fight for my mother and brother. The journey is full of turns that I am quite unprepared for. And I'm just hoping to make it to the next Vegas sunrise..."

In a post-apocalyptic world, a viral epidemic has wiped out most of the earth’s population, leaving behind few humans but untold numbers of mutated vampires. April is a seventeen-year-old girl who lives in the remains of Las Vegas one year after the outbreak. She has become a ferocious vampire killer and after her family is abducted, she goes searching for them. What she finds is a new breed of vampire, unlike any she has seen before. Unsure of whom she can trust, she discovers that her view of the world is not as black and white as she once thought, and she's willing to bend the rules to rescue her family. But in trying to save them, she may only succeed in bringing her fragile world crashing down around her.

My review

Reign of Blood was a different kind of read for me. I am relatively new to the paranormal genre. My experiences so far have been more of the paranormal romance variety. When I have encountered vampires, they have appeared almost human when you meet them. That is not the case here. Sure, there is some drama, but compared to this book, those were all light in comparison. This book is significantly darker.

April Tate, her mother and her six year-old brother are the last three humans, that they know of, living in Las Vegas. One year ago, a virus overtook the population, turning most of the humans into a hybrid species of vampires that are more zombie-like in nature. They don't speak. They move slowly, yet attack humans with the hopes of feeding on them. One bite can easily turn you into one of them.

April and her family head out one day to stock up on supplies. they separate, to make the work faster. When April returns to their van, she finds that her family is gone. She is left to fend for herself, encountering yet another breed of vampire along the way and discovering secrets she never knew.

The book reads more like an action movie than others in the genre I have read. It starts out slow, with just a few small battles between April and the feral vampires, as she tries to find her vampire. The story is told in the first-person, so you feel every movement, no matter how tedious, as she does it. You can feel her loss and confusion that she tries to hide behind her desire to avenge her family. That slow pace quickly builds up, though, when she encounters a new breed of vampire that shares all kinds of secrets with her.

All of these battle scenes do mean there is a lot of blood and violence. If you can't handle gore, then this book is not for you. If you can stomach hearing about blood and ichor, machetes and decapitation, then you are all good to go. I am usually okay with such things, but my stomach turned here and there because Alexia is so descriptive, I could picture every moment. That isn't necessarily a bad thing.

A few twists and turns in the plot may catch you off guard. I felt like the final chapter read more like an epilogue, but it leaves the story open for future books. I believe Alexia Purdy intends for this to be an entire series. I look forward to reading the next installment.

Excerpt #1
Rye tilted his head as he narrowed his steely eyes, sizing me up. “You think you’re so righteous, don’t you? This so-called mission of yours–killing the wildlings like animals–and for what? Just to find your family. Does that make you better than us?” He started shaking his head as he further closed the gap between us, a sinister grin dwelling on his lips. “But you’re not better than us, April. You, my dear, are just another kind of vampire.”
Excerpt #2
My eyes fell on one thing that I had not noticed before. The driver’s side door was slightly cracked open. My stomach lurched for a moment as I slowly stepped around the front of the van to look at the door. A smear of blood ran along the handle and up to the edge of the window. A bloody handprint of dark brick red in color, painted the center of the door. I gasped as my heart jumped, immediately drawing my machete out. I crouched against the van as my eyes darted around, looking for anything that would lead me to where they were. I searched the ground for blood trails but none could be found. If scavengers were out here too, they could have snatched them and I’d have been none the wiser. Not that I had seen any for almost a year.
Excerpt #3
I rounded the corner and came to dead stop. Before me stood a woman, dirtied and with wild hair. Her face was streaked with grime and rips ran through her clothing. Blood had dried in dark red and brown splats on her shirt and pants and the large Rambo-like knife that she fingered in front of me. She was ready to pounce, slowly shifting on her legs as she narrowed her eyes at me. Sucking in my breath, I instinctively reached for one of the machetes strapped to my side.
I was too slow.  

About Author Alexia Purdy

Alexia currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada–Sin City! She loves to spend every free moment writing or playing with her four rambunctious kids. Writing has always been her dream and she has been writing ever since she can remember. She loves writing paranormal fantasy and poetry and devours books daily. Alexia also enjoys watching movies, dancing, singing loudly in the car and Italian food. She is the author of Ever Shade: A Dark Faerie Tale, published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing and Whispers of Dreams (A Poetic Collection), both  available via Amazon.com. Ever Fire: A Dark Faerie Tale #2 will be released in October of 2012. She is currently working on Ever Winter, the third installment of the Dark Faerie Tale series.

Connect with Alexia Purdy

Alexia Purdy’s Blog
Alexia Purdy’s Website
Twitter @AlexiaPurdy
Goodreads Author page
Alexia Purdy’s Facebook Fan Page
Ever Shade (A Dark Faerie Tale) Facebook Fan page
Reign of Blood Series Facebook Fan Page

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